Excerpts of Shri Narendra Modi’s interview given during his appearance on ‘Aap ki Adalat’ with Rajat Sharma:

Rajat Sharma: Important leaders of our country – Sonia, Chidambaram, Sharad -they are all worried that wherever they go, they get to hear “Abki baar, Modi Sarkar”.

I didn’t know that high profile people could be worried about such issues. If they are worried they it’s a sign of being small minded not big. 

RS: Sonia said that advertisements are being circulated in every corner of the country that project one man being the cure of all ailments. He is being presented as a miracle.

Even I heard her saying that BJP has got a magician. I thought magicians make items vanish on stage. But these days Delhi is plagued with black magic. They have made jobs and coal disappear. Electricity has vanished. So they think this kind of magic is better than Black magic. 

RS: They say he pretends that there is no other patriot than himself. By chanting false slogans he wants to grab the PM’s post.

Every citizen is a patriot. Neither do I doubt anyone’s patriotism nor do I claim to be the most patriotic person. 

RS: Rahul Gandhi says that our nation doesn’t need a single chowkidaar. Modi wants to change the entire nation. I say that the nation needs crores of chowkidaars. What can a single chowkidaar do?

It a good thing that he listens to my speeches carefully and he knows that crores of chowkidaar will serve him good. One could pose a problem. I am worried that if there are 150 crore chowkidaars then will they include Adarsh Scam culprits and those who have snatched lands of widows of Kargil martyrs? Their LS candidates who have been accused of land acquisition of the farmer of Rajasthan – will they also be chowkidaars? If this is the case then it seems that cat will be made in-charge of milk. 

RS: Their slogan goes- Har haath shakti har haath tarakki.

They need to come up with ideas to put a lid on their work. Their hand that commits sin has to be portrayed in some other way. That is why, for them, it’s- har haath loot har honth jhooth (Every hand loots, every lips speak a lie). 

RS: Nitish alleges that this is mere publicity. On TV, Radio FM and on newspapers – only Modi sarkar is publicized. Modi has created his wave. It is self-created.

I don’t say it myself. You (audience) all are shouting my name on your own. Has anyone taught you? (Audience: Nahi) You all are chanting on your own? (Yes) Do you think that the nation is saying this on its own? (Audience: Yes) Don’t listen to me or Nitish. At least listen to the people. 

RS: We get messages on our mobile phones. They go as follows: twinkle little stars, Abki baar Modi sarkaar; Rahul Gandhi ne khayi chocolate bar, abki baar Modi sarkaar, parathon ke saath khao achar, Abki baar Modi sakar, dil ka bhawar kare pukaar abki baar Modi sarkar, Sonia ji ne Manmohan se kaha ab to apna moun tod do sardar, abki baar Modi sarkar.

I am grateful to the creative people of this nation. Had social media not existed then we would have not been able to hear about this creativity. 

RS: Akhilesh Yadav said in Aap Ki Adalat that Narendra Modi had hired an American agency to create such slogans for publicity. He is giving Rs 1000 crore to that agency.

I have not done anything as such. This lie has been circulating for quite some time. Had I hired such a company, is it possible that it would have been in the newspapers. They would have managed it. 

RS: Anand Sharma, Congress Union Minister said in a press conference that BJP has spent Rs. 10000 crore on publicity.

The first thing that Anand Sharma needs to do is to write to the EC. Then there is a govt agency named Enforcement Directorate. Since they don’t do anything, I’m giving them an idea of doing some work. Let them fully investigate it. Let Anand Sharma do it as fast as possible. If there is any objection from EC, I’m willing to writing to EC to let them do it. 

RS: But Rahul Gandhi says that you are a person who can sell combs to even those who are bald.

I used to sell tea. I never sold combs but the information that I can do it has reached them, is sort of achievement for me. 

RS: Rahul mentions in his public speeches that you are filling balloons and it will burst the same way it got deflated in 2009.

They said the same thing in 2002, 2007 and 2012 when Gujarat assembly elections took place. Their balloons got deflated. They have been defeated in primary match. Now the people will decide the outcome in the final match. 

RS: Sonia Gandhi says that you are being presented as if nothing has been done in the past and you will change things overnight.

I have already said that everything has vanished because of black magic. In the first decade of 21st century, we had such a good opportunity to take off in this era of globalization, from the point Vajpayee had left things. But instead of taking off, we collapsed on the runway itself. It has caused a great damage to the country. Have you ever seen a country that exports wheat and import breads? We are exporting iron-ore and importing steel. In this country, power units of 20,000 mw capacity are closed down. On the other hand, coal mines are also closed down. Why? Because the files have disappeared. For them, files have disappeared but for me, the life of nation has disappeared. Had coal been available, we would have got power. Small industries could have been set up that would have given employment to youth. When we raise these questions they think that they are ruling the nation for four generations, how can a ‘chaiwallah’ challenge them? In a democracy, everybody including kids have the right to ask questions from rulers. 

Rajat Sharma: Their problem is that a ‘chaiwallah’ is trying to become the prime minister.

I am a person who never dreamt of becoming anything. And I tell the youth don’t dream of becoming anything. You should always dream of doing something. I come from a background that my mother would have distributed sweets had I become even a school teacher. It’s the blessings of people in a democracy that can decide the future of a person. In a democracy, no one can decide his future. Even today, I have dreams of doing things but not one dream of becoming anything. 

RS: Rahul has said that Modi can go to any extent to become the PM. He says that if you come to power then you will break nation into pieces. You will create infighting among people.

I think he has borrowed this (cutting into pieces) from his candidate in UP. We will sacrifice our lives for the unity and integrity of nation. Look at the history of the Congress. Look at their track record. Who got the reins of power first? Who divided the country? Who spread the poison of casteism? Who created communal tension? For the first time, the govt asked the army to provide info on the basis of religion. Fortunately, the army refused to share the info saying the army consists of Indians only. They refused to count Hindus and Muslims in army. They should look within themselves.

In Gujarat, I talk about 5 crore Gujaratis only. I talk of 125 crore Hindustani only. I have tried to avoid the sectarian terminology. Gradually every Chief Minister has started doing the same thing. 

RS: Omar Abdullah says that you went to Punjab and accepted their attire, you went to Arunachal and wore their cap, you went to Assam and wore their dress but you refused to wear skull cap offered by Imam.

I have never seen Gandhi, Patel or Nehru wearing such skull cap. Indian politics has deteriorated. They can do anything for appeasement. I believe in respecting traditions of all religions. But at the same time, I have to respect my own tradition as well although I respect all traditions. I can’t hoodwink people by wearing such skull caps. But I believe in taking action against those who show disrespect to other’s caps. 

RS: Nitish Kumar said that in public life, you have to wear both tilak and skull caps. You have to take care of sentiments of others.

If he thinks that it helps in taking care of sentiments then it’s his thought. I believe that their children should get better education. They should have Quran in one hand and computer in the other hand. 

RS: Azam Khan said that after 60 years of independence, we are being called puppies.

Whoever said this was wrong. I will not say anything like this. 

RS: You had said, “we are human beings. It pains even when a puppy comes under my car.”

Modi: In our country we say it pains even if an ant dies. These are proverbs. This should not be interpreted otherwise. And you should know that the person who had taken my interview, despite being a foreigner, had tweeted that I did not mean anything like that. But the news traders, and am not talking about media, used this to sell their stuff. 

RS: Azam Khan while referring to you has said today that we don’t need the sympathy of Modi, the elder brother of puppies.

I should say- thank you very much- to him because the loyalty of dogs is unparalleled. I’m proud that somebody saw this quality in me that will benefit the country. 

RS: Manmohan Singh said that it will be disastrous if you become the PM.

I think his own partymen, including his cabinet ministers said that he should not have said that. And now he has stopped saying that. 

RS: He actually reminded people that it will be disastrous for people if a person, under whose regime killings took place on the roads of Ahmedabad, becomes PM.

He should have remembered, there was attack on Akshardham temple in September 2002, so many people were killed inside the temple, yet Gujarat maintained peace. Gujarat maintained peace even after serial blasts. There was a time when Gujarat used to have riots over kite flying and cricket matches. Gujarat has not witnessed riots for last 12 years. The children of Gujarat don’t know what is curfew all about? Gujarat has progressed because of peace and harmony. And this is what the nation needs for growth as these things will have catalytic effect in achieving that. 

Q: Akhilesh Yadav recently said in ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ that Muzaffarnagar riots were incited by Narendra Modi.

I don’t know whether he is having a sound sleep these days. I have been to UP 4-5 times in recent times and I can understand his real concern. He sees Modi in everything- from lion to laptop. This is his problem. 

Question from audience: What will you do for education sector in your first 100 days of rule?

In our country, we should think about poor first. Whenever I meet a person, like a driver, I ask about his family and life. He tells me that he has taken loans for better education of his kids. Nowadays even drivers are taking loans for the better education of their kids. We have always focused on degrees only. Now is the time to focus on skill development that will bring employment to our youth. If we have to compete with China then we have to focus on three things- skill, scale and speed. We need better skill, greater scale and faster speed. 

Question from audience: You are campaigning relentlessly for last two months. From where do you get the motivation?

Modi: I had started the campaign from 15th September. So now it’s 6-7 months since I started the campaign. I am a labourer and my childhood was very tough and physically I am used to all this. I also do my Yoga and Pranayam. But the important point is that I believe you never get tired by doing work. You get tired when you don’t work. When you clean your house, you don’t get tired, it gives you satisfaction.

People’s blessings give you the power to work tirelessly. The only thing required is commitment. The love and affection that I have received from people in last 6 months keeps me running. 

Question from audience: When will we come out of caste based politics?

That’s why I say unless we start using saying – we the 1.25 crore people- the poison of caste will keep creating fissures in the society. There is no harm in feeling proud of your caste but the poison of casteism that creates hatred does not benefit anyone. 

Rajat Sharma: But Sonia ji says that you do what she calls ‘zeher ki kheti’.

It’s good that you have given me the opportunity to speak on this. In Jaipur in last June-July, there was Congress convention going on where Rahul made a speech. He said that I went to Mom’s room this morning and I found her crying. She told me that power is poison. Now the question is who has been in power for the longest time? Who tasted the poison for the longest time? Who has the maximum amount of poison in the stomach? So who will spew poison the most? 

Rajat Sharma: Maulana Madani has said that Muslims are being made to feel scared in the name of Modi. You talk about national integration but it can actually break the country.

What he said was that those who are saying all this are trying to break the nation. 

RS: He says that Muslims are being made to feel scared in your name. What is it in you that scare Muslims?

I don’t think they feel scared. In Gujarat, Muslims feel greater enthusiasm when my name is mentioned. 

Audience: America had banned your entry in that country. Will you go to US if you become PM?

When it happened in 2005, I had told media that we want to create an India where Americans will have to stand in cue to seek visa. 

RS: American ambassador Nancy Powell had to leave after she met you. What did you do?

 (Laughs)…This is something that journalists should investigate. 

RS: You opponents allege that all your developmental claims in the state are hollow. Mulayam Singh Yadav recently asked you to explain whether Gujarat, like UP, also has free irrigation, free education and free medicines.

He should have taken it further- free goondaism, free killings of innocents. 

RS: He responded when you said that it takes 56 inch chest for running the government.

I had responded to him when he said that he will not allow UP becoming another Gujarat. It is then that I had said, “Neta ji, it takes 56 inches chest to make Gujarat. And then I went on to say, in order to make a state like Gujarat, you need to give electricity for 24 hours and 365 days. Most houses in Gujarat have the facility of drinking water from taps, 99% roads in rural regions have proper roads. I said, “You don’t have that kind of stamina. You continue with caste oriented politics because you cannot go beyond that.” Today Ram Manohar Lohia must have been very upset with his disciples. 

Rahul: Rahul Gandhi alleges that you have created Gujarat’s image just through marketing as far as facilities like electricity, water and employment are concerned.

Okay, we can go to Delhi, Bengal and Assam for marketing. But I cannot do that in front of the people of Gujarat, right? They can see through right away. I say that I have constructed roads and if there are no roads, then the people there will never believe me. They would call me a liar if I had not done anything for the agricultural sector. Then I would have not won elections in 2002, 2007 and 2012. I did not lose a single election. Gujarat is the only State that can fight the elections with the agenda of development. Even today our agenda is development and others are running away from this zone.

They don’t have courage to touch this issue. Because they feel that they will be answerable for this. When I had gone to visit Gujarat in 2001, people gathered to meet me. I hadn’t visited my State for quite some time. I had nothing to do there. Before becoming the CM I had not even seen the CM’s chamber. I was not even an MLA and I had not even fought teacher’s elections.

People would come to me and say, we are not asking for anything big.

But at least provide us electricity during dinner time so that we don’t have to eat in the dark. That means, during that period, Gujarat didn’t even get electricity in the evening for dinner. Today Gujarat has electricity all around the year. This cannot be proved through marketing. When people switch on their bulb and see light, it is then that they believe that Modi has provided electricity. 

RS: But it is also true that you got Amitabh Bachchan for promotion and marketing.

This is true… 

RS: It’s the same Amitabh who was once a part of Congress and then SP…?

There is difference between Modi and others. He is indeed close to Mulayam Singh Yadav. He is from UP and thus he has his attachments. But Mulayam Singh used him. He used him in his election campaigns with the slogan – “UP mein hai dum, zulm hai kam”. But that didn’t work.

Amitabh’s role needs to be reflected with intellect. I used him to talk about Gujarat and not of Gujarat government. He advertises Kutch, its handicraft and lifestyle. So if I have that thought, that is my work. I use Amitabh Bachchan as a productive resource for the welfare of Gujarat. It’s been around 5 years that he’s been working with me. Neither he has ever spoken about politics and nor have I. And today let me clarify, when I had given him the proposal that I wanted to promote tourism in Gujarat, he said, “I give you my voice and my face, you may use it”. He refused to take money from me. He does not take a single rupee for promoting tourism in Gujarat and for this I am extremely grateful to him. 

RS: We thought he must be earning a lot from your Government.

I’m a “pakka Ahmedabadi” (pure Ahmedabadi). Our specialty is to find someone on whom we have least expenditure. We believe in single fare, double journey. We don’t give money to people easily. 

RS: If you don’t give then why is it being said that you gave cheap land to Tata, Adani and other builders?

All these accusations are influenced by politics. Our Congress friends keep bringing up such issues. I say, is the Government of India asleep? Isn’t it its responsibility to reprimand a Chief Minister if he is involved in such malpractices? Why aren’t they taking any action?

This means that they don’t have courage to do even that. Secondly, as far as land allocation is concerned, the Supreme Court has said that the policy of Gujarat government is so good that all States must implement that model. Thirdly, a lie that is circulating is that Nano was given land. In reality, Nano was not given a single inch land from the State government. No agricultural land was given to Nano. 

RS: But there are accusations that farmer’s lands were seized and given to Nano?

These people don’t know anything. The Supreme Court has given approval. We had given land to the industries on more than the market rate. Not the present market rate, but the rate that existed then. Gujarat is a policy driven state. Even if you go there, you will get the same benefit that the richest man of India will get. 

RS: Rahul Gandhi says that Gujarat’s credibility cannot be proved because the state does not have RTI, the biggest information right that he has given to the citizens.

Modi: These days he goes around saying that he has given this law and that law…ask him, does RTI apply to J&K? Do Right to education and Anti – corruption Bill apply to Kashmir? First he should see what his government has done. Moreover, Gujarat has RTI and there have never been any complains in Gujarat on RTI. 

RS: Now that you have mentioned Supreme Court I will have to take my case back.

Audience: If your government is formed, will you give an assurance to Christian brothers and sisters that their churches will not be broken down?

I have never heard of such incidents taking place… 

Audience: That they won’t be burnt…?

I have never heard of such instances. Our country does not believe in the concept of your God and my God. We believe that all Gods are one. We have different ways of accepting Him. All ways lead to Him. That is why our constitution does not allow any discrimination. We cannot have communal discussions. We can be religious but not communal. That is why BJP’s motto is Sarva Panth Sambhav. In Gujarat we have the world’s smallest community – Parsi. They even have a pilgrimage centre there. Look at the rich history of India. We have never tried to bring down any community’s place of worship through sword or violence. Castes and religious divides are holding the nation back from growing. I want you all to be at peace. 

RS: You have given consolation to Parsis and Christians. Can you give assurance to Muslims?

Every citizen of this nation has those rights and privileges that Narendra Modi has. 

RS: So nobody has to fear you.

Some people will have to be afraid. Those who plunder the nation, deliver injustice, will have to feel scared of me. And I am not afraid of admitting this. Government cannot be so lenient that it forgives them. People must have sense of security. This does not exist and that is what causes all the trouble. You have to maintain some decorum even at home. And if it is a crime to maintain discipline then I admit my crime. 

RS: There’s one man’s rule in BJP. Modi’s name is chanted everywhere. Even on all the posters. It appears that there is no other leader left in BJP.

This is not true. BJP is a huge organization. It works in that structure. There is a galaxy of leaders who are equally competent. During elections we have to set a goal and prioritize issues. Even for this there is a committee of which Modi is not a part. Previously we worked under Atal ji’s guidance. Then we worked under Advani ji, Harshvardhan in Delhi, Shivraj Singh in MP and in Rajasthan we worked under Vasundhara Raje. So responsibilities are distributed according to the party’s goal. Right now I have been given this role and I have to do what the party has asked me to do. I am a worker of the party. We are a team. 

RS: If you are a team then why did Advani get upset three times?

I don’t think he is angry. 

RS: He was first annoyed when Narendra Modi was made the national convener for the elections in Goa. Then the party went to appease him. Next he was upset when Narendra Modi was declared BJP’s PM candidate. He didn’t attend that meeting and once again the party had to persuade him. Recently he was upset over ticket distribution in the Lok Sabha elections. He wanted to fight from Ahmedabad and party insisted that he contests from Bhopal.

All these three issues have been clarified by Advani and the party. They were all fiction. Because after Goa meeting, he called me up to congratulate me. He was not well so he couldn’t come to Goa. But this made juicy news for media. 

RS: And Jaswant Singh…

Jaswant Singh has just written a review of one of my biographies. 

RS: And you didn’t give him ticket…

I don’t distribute tickets. State election Committee sends its recommendations. Central committee approves of it. Recently we helped his son win elections. BJP has lakhs of workers. It becomes difficult to manage when tickets are distributed. 

RS: But the situation is so grave that Rahul Gandhi is worried that influential leaders like Jaswant Singh, L K Advani have been sidelined by Narendra Modi.

These are people who held Modi’s hand to make him walk. And even today I seek their advice by sitting at their feet. BJP does not work that way. But in their party, look what happened to Sitaram Kesri. He was the President of All India Congress Committee. They threw him out of his office to bring in Sonia Gandhi. 

RS: But now that culture is creeping into BJP. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tweeted- Sabir Ali has joined the party, now Dawood Ibrahim is next in line.

Let those exchanges remain between them only. 

RS: Party workers say that very few people like you within the party although you have fan following outside. Raj Thackeray said that he will make Modi the Prime Minister.

First part of your statement is not correct. Today there are senior and more experienced members than me in the party. But they have handed immense responsibility to me. My party workers are working relentlessly. If I am anything today, I owe it all to my party workers. That is why I cannot think that my party people do not support me because I would have not even been even at grass root level had it not been for them. 

RS: I have heard that Kumar Vishwas has been praising you and dedicating poems to you. He said that Narendra Modi used to talk to him.

Now that is true. I used to talk to a lot of people. Many say that Modi does not talk to anyone, but at least he is honest in claiming that I talked to him. 

RS: But there is no confusion on the leadership in Congress…

That is what has led to Congress’ fall. Instead of improving the economy of the nation, they are busy generating income for one family. 

RS: Dr Manmohan Singh has said that Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to become the Prime Minister and I am willing to work under his guidance. Has any big leader in your party made such a statement in your favour?

There’s a reason for that – I say, I am willing to work under their guidance. I work under them. 

RS: But one such leader, Murli Manohar Joshi, wanted a ticket from Varanasi but you went there.

I was given that offer. And he is fighting from Kanpur. I believe he is going to win with largest number of votes this time. 

Audience: Sir your clothes are very stylish, who is your designer?

I left my house when I was very young. I could fit all my belongings in a small bundle. I kept wandering for 40 – 45 years and I spent over 40 years begging for food. I had to wash my own clothes. So I thought my shirt occupied too much effort in washing and space too. I cut the sleeves myself. So my shirt became half sleeved. I have been wearing such clothes for over 25 years. Yes, I like to dress up well and stay clean. God has gifted me the sense of mixing and matching colours. So I manage everything on my own. Since I’m God gifted I fit well in everything. I have no fashion designer but I’m happy to hear that I dress well. 

RS: You are secretive about your personal life. Only recently we got to know that you used to sell tea at the Railway stations.

It is true that I don’t talk much about my personal life. People of Gujarat know a lot. But Media today is so vibrant that even if something falls off from the pocket they come to know. Then one day I’d come to Delhi and some Congressmen went about saying silly things about me, they even abused me. They said that Modi was an American agent and what not. I was hurt. I had my rally in Rohini (Delhi). I said, do you even know me? I have spent my childhood selling tea at railway stations and you are throwing such allegations on me? That’s how you all got to know about me. Other than that, so many things keep happening; I can’t go around telling everything. 

RS: You were so naughty that when you were a child you used to catch crocodile babies from the lake and take them home.

I was brave, not naughty. There was a lake in my village and I loved to swim in that lake. I even had to wash my clothes there. So one day I picked up a crocodile baby and took it home. Later on I even took it to school and my teachers were very upset. 

RS: You left your home when you were very young and went up to the Himalayas.

Yes I’ve left my home on several occasions. I wanted to lead a spiritual life. Like I said I spent some years begging for food for sustenance. Even now I desire that. I was greatly influenced by Swami Vivekananda. I visited Ramakrishna Mission and several other places. I recently visited Swami Atmaghanananda. That was another world which I have loved. 

RS: It’s astonishing that a man who used to sell tea and beg for food has now become a brand himself. Comics are written on you, chips and vegetables are sold in your name. Miscellaneous goods are sold in your name.

It is astonishing, I admit. If you consider my background – I am the Chief Minister of Gujarat and my mother still resides in a small house in the village. I am surprised myself as I don’t have any background. It’s like a miracle that has worked in my life. I don’t understand what people want out of me or the party, I don’t know. 

RS: Congress feels that you have prepared a huge underground team who work constantly on social media to create Narendra Modi’s image.

Congress is right for once. I have worked underground in 1975 and 1977 – two years when Mrs Indira Gandhi had imposed emergency on the nation and had imprisoned important leaders. Police were hunting for me too. Then I would wear a turban and stay dressed as a Sardar to hide my identity. Since then Congress is scared of me. My life is an open book. It is true that lakhs of people are associated with me in this election who have got nothing to do with BJP, politics. They are only concerned about the nation. Over 10000 people have come from overseas to assist. I met around 400 youngsters. They are all IITians. They have been putting efforts in their own way. I don’t even know those people. But if I don’t know that doesn’t not mean it’s underground. 

Audience: If you become Prime Minister then will Advani become the next President?

If Modi becomes Prime Minister, it would mean that Advani has made him so. Those who give me position, how can I give them anything? 

Audience: I know that you will become the PM. I have full confidence. I don’t wish to ask you a question. All I want you to do is to remove black magic from this country with your magic.

 If there are millions of others like you then black magic will anyway vanish. 

Audience: After 2002 Gujarat riots, Indian, International media, politicians – were all after you. How did you cope with all of this?

If you are dependent on truth, then you get the strength to face all accusations. Even today I face all sorts of indictments. Maybe my life’s strife has made me strong. Had I not been so strong, maybe I would have not won the hearts of millions of people. I’m privileged to have suffered. I now convert all strife into an opportunity and so far I’ve been successful. 

RS: You had strength and were supported by truth, so why didn’t you discuss this before. Why are you saying all this today in Aap Ki Adalat?

Modi: First of all, whenever I was asked on this issue, I answered all the questions. But I feel that some people do not want answers to questions. They want to hear what they have to say. And their problem is that they don’t do their homework. That’s why they can’t ask me much. 

RS: They just want Narendra Modi to apologize.

Even when I step down from my bed in the morning, I ask mother earth for her forgiveness. Who am I? I’m just a child of this earth. 

Audience: All the parties have stressed on women protection in their manifesto. What will you do that women feel secure?

If you get the opportunity, in October on Navratri, we have a ceremony that continues till over midnight. You can walk around. You will see young girls, clad in jewellery, will be hanging out and riding their scooties. Everything is possible. 

RS: Mulayam Singh Yadav has made a statement at a public meeting that rape is a minor offense and capital punishment is not justified. He said that I become the Prime Minister then I’ll change this law.

If you start collecting such mean statements then, after Mumbai’s terror attack, a Congress minister had said, such minor incidents keep happening. This mindset is very dangerous for the country. Don’t we feel the pain when such crimes take place? I understand that it takes time to bring about social change. But how can we be so insensitive. For a moment imagine that you are that girl who has been raped. Will you then think that it is a small incident? Or think that your own daughter has been raped and then you’ll understand. Every daughter of India is our daughter. The kind of things that we are hearing nowadays, are so troubling to the mind. And even then some ministers add salt to the wound because of their ignorance. It is very painful. I don’t want to give a political answer for this nor do I want to score a political point. I pray to God that at least he doesn’t give us such mentality.


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PM Modi's Interview to Aletihad
December 01, 2023

India is optimistic that the UAE-hosted COP28 will inject fresh momentum into effective climate action, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an exclusive interview with Aletihad on Thursday.

The country’s partnership with the UAE in this key area is going from strength to strength, driven by a futuristic vision, PM Modi said, adding that India and the UAE, which enjoy robust and enduring relations, can join forces in establishing a common grid to enhance energy security, leveraging each other’s strengths in the energy sector, and providing support to the International Solar Alliance’s Global Solar Facility.

“India and the UAE stand as partners in shaping a greener and more prosperous future, and we remain steadfast in our joint efforts to influence the global discourse on climate action,” the Prime Minister said during his visit to the UAE, his sixth visit to the country since becoming Prime Minister.

As countries that share a vision of promoting sustainability and renewable energy, India and the UAE have emerged as leaders in global renewable energy efforts, PM Modi said, commending the UAE’s unwavering commitment to climate action within the renewable energy sector.

Ensuring Requisite Climate Financing

With regard to climate finance, the Prime Minister said that he has always maintained that climate change is a collective challenge that demands a unified global response.

“It is essential to recognise that developing countries have not contributed in the creation of the problem. Yet developing countries are willing to be a part of the solution,” the Prime Minister said.

“But, they cannot contribute without access to the financing and technology needed… I have therefore advocated strongly for global cooperation for ensuring requisite climate financing and technology transfer,” he said, stressing the importance of ensuring that climate financing flows to the developing world in a practical, assured manner.

“I believe climate action must be based on equity, climate justice, shared obligations and shared capacities. By adhering to these principles, we can forge a path toward a sustainable future that leaves no one behind,” the Prime Minister added. He stressed that as nations pursue climate action, “we must ensure that development priorities of the Global South are not compromised”. “I am happy that during the recent New Delhi G20 Summit, this aspect has been properly addressed, including through a recognition of the need to rapidly and substantially scale up investment and climate finance from billions to trillions of dollars globally from all sources,” PM Modi noted. The implementation of commitments of developed countries to provide technological and financial support to developing countries needs to be at the forefront of the agenda at COP28, he stressed, adding that rising ambitions on climate action must see matching progress on climate finance. “At COP28, we hope to have credible progress on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on Climate Finance,” he said.

Active Collaboration

Cooperation between the two countries spans the entire energy spectrum, with a strong focus on sustainability, according to Modi.

“Our enduring relationship is founded on multiple pillars, and the dynamism of our ties is expressed by our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership… We are particularly happy that UAE is hosting COP28, and I congratulate the Government and people of the UAE on this special occasion,” the Prime Minister said. “I had the opportunity to visit the UAE in July this year, during which my brother, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, and I held wide ranging discussions in which the issue of climate change figured prominently,” he said.

“Our two nations have been actively collaborating on addressing the pressing global challenge of climate change. During my July visit, we issued a joint statement on climate change, reflecting our commitment to this cause,” he said.

His Highness was in New Delhi for the G20 Summit in September, where he noted that climate change served as an important focus of discussions and outcomes.

Modi expressed hope that COP28 would bring fresh impetus to effective climate action and international cooperation in advancing the goals of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. “India and the UAE stand as partners in shaping a greener and more prosperous future, and we remain steadfast in our joint efforts to influence the global discourse on climate action,” the Prime Minister said.

Futuristic Vision

Delving into the “futuristic vision” driving India’s partnership with the UAE in the climate domain, PM Modi said: “We have had robust cooperation in the area of renewables since 2014, and during my visit to the UAE in July this year, we resolved to take forward our cooperation in green hydrogen, solar energy and grid connectivity.” “You would also remember that last year, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and I had unveiled a framework for advancing our strategic partnership for the coming decade, which emphasised climate action and renewables,” Modi noted. “We appreciate the significant investments that the UAE has made in India’s renewable energy projects, particularly in the solar and wind sectors,” the Prime Minister said. PM Modi also highlighted the ample opportunity available for both countries to work together on technology development, the formulation of mutually beneficial policy frameworks and regulations, investments in renewable infrastructure, and capacity building in the fields of green hydrogen and green ammonia. Solar energy is another significant area of potential collaboration, where India and the UAE can collectively work to enhance the investment environment in both countries, fostering increased adoption and accelerated deployment of solar technologies, the Prime Minister said.

“In my view, there is no doubt that in the years to come, this partnership will play a pivotal role in crafting global solutions to the challenges we currently face in this sphere,” the Prime Minister stressed.

Championing Clean Energy

Prime Minister Modi commended the UAE’s unwavering commitment to climate action within the renewable sector, which he said is exemplified in its role as the host country for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“I understand that UAE’s renewable energy portfolio has increased significantly during the last decade. I have been told that the UAE has taken multiple progressive steps on sustainable growth in the form of large solar parks, ‘Green Building Regulations’ for private sector construction, programmes for increase in energy efficiency, development of smart cities, among others,” PM Modi said. “We in India have shown a similar zeal, and implemented numerous steps that have made significant impact at an unprecedented scale, be it our renewable energy production or adoption of energy efficient lighting by households, or the impetus to energy conservation across our urban infrastructure, to name only a few,” the Prime Minister said. India’s renewable energy capacity currently stands at 186 GW, and it is targeting a renewables-installed capacity of 500 GW by 2030. The country is also targeting a non-fossil electricity generation installed capacity of 50% by 2030, according to the Prime Minister.

“The parallels between our nations in pursuing sustainable growth and renewable energy solutions are not only inspiring, but also indicative of our shared dedication to a cleaner and more sustainable future,” PM Modi said.

Driving Pro-Planet Lifestyles

India’s Mission Lifestyle for Environment (Mission LiFE), is an initiative to motivate the world to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“We have launched a Global Mission on sustainable lifestyles - ‘LiFE, Lifestyle for Environment’ - that promotes sustainable consumption lifestyle changes and circular economy principles,” PM Modi said.

“My call for Mission LiFE is based on a belief that a mass movement of pro-planet lifestyles and choices can have a significant contribution towards global climate action,” he added.
In this vein, India has conceptualised a mechanism to incentivise voluntary, pro-planet actions that can effectively respond to climate change, termed the “Green Credit Initiative”.

The programme envisions the issue of “Green Credits” for plantations on waste or degraded lands and river catchment areas. Such greening actions at a mass scale would be able to rejuvenate river basins, enrich the soil, purify the air, and thus restore and revive natural ecosystems.

In October, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change of India defined the initiative as a “market-based mechanism designed to incentivise voluntary environmental actions across diverse sectors by various stakeholders”.

“The world needs such instruments that are simple and doable, and which encourage large scale participation,” PM Modi noted.

“We promoted this positive thinking during our G20 Presidency. We seek global collaboration, cooperation, and partnership through exchange of knowledge, experiences, and best practices in planning, implementation, and monitoring of environment-positive actions through programmes and mechanisms like Green Credits,” the Prime Minister said.

India is set to officially launch the Green Credit Initiative alongside the UAE during a high-level event during COP28.

“I am glad that UAE is co-hosting with us a high-level event to inaugurate this ‘Green Credit Initiative’ for global collaboration.

We are looking forward to the launch of this initiative that incentivises environmentally friendly actions. We invite all countries to be part of this voluntary, collaborative effort to share experiences and learn from each others’ best practices,” the Prime Minister said.

Green Hydrogen, Investments

India has made considerable strides in its green energy projects, furthering the country’s sustainability efforts. In January 2023, India announced its National Green Hydrogen Mission, with the aim to become a global hub for the production, utilisation, and export of green hydrogen and its derivatives. According to the Prime Minister, the country has a targeted production of 5 MMTPA of green hydrogen by 2030. Recently, India also agreed to establish a joint Hydrogen Task Force to help scale up technologies, with a special focus on green hydrogen production.

The National Green Hydrogen Mission requires 80 GW of electrolyser capacity and 125 GW of renewable energy, with an estimated total investment of around $100 billion, the Prime Minister said, urging “friends from the UAE, which already have substantial investments in India’s renewable energy sector, to invest in the green hydrogen sector in India”.

The Indian PM also identified green hydrogen and green ammonia projects as a key area of potential future cooperation between the two countries, in addition to the establishment of Green Hydrogen Corridors to connect markets from India through the UAE, the Mediterranean, and beyond.

India’s Key G20 Efforts

During India’s G20 Presidency, the country ensured that particular attention was paid to climate change and climate action, reflected in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration.

These include the Green Development Pact, the G20 2023 Action Plan on Accelerating Progress of SDGs, the High-Level Principles of Lifestyles for Sustainable Development, the High-Level Voluntary Principles on Hydrogen, as well the institutionalisation of the Disaster Relief Working Group, the Prime Minister said.

There is also a reference to tripling renewable energy capacity globally through existing targets and policies, as well as demonstrate similar ambition with respect to other zero and low-emissions technologies, including abatement and removal technologies, in line with national circumstances, by 2030. “We look forward to the COP28 taking forward these achievements. We are also looking to promote other initiatives during COP28, such as the Green Credit Initiative, or the LeadIT initiative that we launched with our partners in 2019,” PM Modi said.


Over the last nine years, India has demonstrated by example that the country is at the forefront of doing its part to address climate change. “At COP26, I presented ‘Panchamrit’ – five ambitious commitments of India – as our contribution to global climate action,” the Prime Minister said.

The five ambitious commitments include the following: reaching 500GW Non-fossil energy capacity by 2030; ensuring 50% of its energy requirements are met by renewable energy sources by 2030; reducing the total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes between now and 2030; reducing the carbon intensity of the economy by 45% by 2030 over 2005 levels; and achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.

Translating its promises into action, India submitted its updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) prior to COP27, and submitted the Long Term-Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS), which put forward its Net Zero pathways, during COP27, according to the Prime Minister.

“We are the only G20 country that is on track to achieving our NDCs,” he said.

“Unfortunately, on a global level, the climate outlook is not that positive, and there are concerns that we will not achieve our 2030 targets as a global community.”

He also brought attention to the first Global Stocktake envisaged during COP28, highlighting it as an important opportunity to undertake a mid-point review of global efforts.

“I hope that this event will energise the global community to undertake a course correction and redouble efforts to ensure that we return on track to achieve our 2030 targets,” PM Modi said.

Source: Aletihad