PM Blogs on his visit to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji

Published By : Admin | November 21, 2014 | 11:19 IST

Dear Friends,

On the evening of the 19th, my trip to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji concluded. While on the way back I was reflecting on the last ten days - what did we achieve, what were the outcomes for India and that is when I thought I should also share some thoughts with you through my Blog.

To begin with, it is vital to understand the historic uniqueness of this visit.

In the case of Australia, this was the first bilateral visit by a Prime Minister of India in 28 years. Fiji witnessed such a visit almost 33 years back. On one hand, the IT and Communication revolution brought the world closer but on the other hand, we could not reach the shores of these two countries, each important in its own way, for almost three decades.

I thought this must change.

I attended five Summits including the one with leaders of Pacific Islands that I hosted in Fiji and met 38 world leaders. The number of full bilateral meetings I had stands at 20. In fact, I had the opportunity to meet leaders from every part of the world! These meetings were frank, comprehensive and fruitful. We covered substantial ground on several issues. I met a wide range of business leaders as well.

During these bilateral meetings, I noticed one thing- that the world is looking at India with renewed respect and immense enthusiasm! I see a global community that is tremendously keen to engage with India.

With every leader, we discussed how we could make our relations more extensive, diverse and wide-ranging. Strengthening trade and commerce and drawing industry to India was a central part of the discussion.Numerous leaders I met were very optimistic about our ‘Make in India’ initiative and are keen to come to India and be a part of the extensive and diverse opportunities India has to offer. I see this as a positive sign, one that will bring several opportunities to India’s youth and give them the right exposure that will make them shine. Such exposure has become imperative keeping in mind the pace at which the world is developing. Several world leaders also showed keenness on our plans to create ‘Next Gen Infrastructure’ and smart cities.

I had the opportunity to address the Parliaments of Australia and Fiji during this visit.

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Coming from the world’s largest democracy, it is always heartening to visit these temples of democracies and to share thoughts from within the hallowed portals of their four walls. There is no bond that is stronger than a bond between two democracies. On one hand it gave me an opportunity to reach out to the wider political leadership of these nations and on the other hand it opened new avenues for co-operation. Once again, the lawmakers were very upbeat about India.

Both addresses were a first for any Indian Prime Minister. In fact, I was told that my address to the Fijian Parliament was a first by any world leader. This is not a personal achievement, but it is a reflection on the respect that the 125 crore people of India have in the eyes of the global community.

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At the G-20 Summit, India placed the issue of existence and repatriation of black money at the forefront of the world community.

I am glad that the world community took note of this because this is an issue that does not selectively affect one nation. The menace of black money has the potential to destabilize world peace and harmony. Black money also brings with it terrorism, money laundering and narcotics trade. As democracies firmly committed to the rule of law, it becomes our obligation to collectively fight this evil and there was no better occasion than the G-20 to raise this. Our efforts paid off with the official communiqué reflecting this issue.

The ASEAN Summit was an opportunity to engage with the Leadership of ASEAN nations as we discussed how to deepen engagement both as a group of nations and with each Nation individually.

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It is my conviction that ASEAN and India can explore new frontiers together. We share the bonds of culture and history and at the same time are blessed with the vigour and energy of our youth.

I discussed affordable housing with PM Razak of Malaysia, energy issues with the Sultan of Brunei and urban development issues with PM Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore.

In Fiji I met with leaders of the Pacific Island Nations. This is a region that is important to us. I am very happy to have taken a significant and concrete step towards stronger bilateral relations with each of these nations individually. There is a lot we can do for these nations and there is a lot we can learn from them.

Wherever I went, I witnessed immense warmth from the people. I am extremely grateful to President Thein Sein, Prime Minister Abbott and Prime Minister Bainimarama the leaders of the three nations who hosted me.

My individual meetings with them also covered significant ground on how to take relations with our respective nations ahead.

With President Thein Sein my talks were centered around the 3Cs of culture, commerce and connectivity. Prime Minister Abbott and I made unprecedented progress in the areas of energy, culture, and security and are moving very positively on the issue of nuclear energy. The Framework for Security Cooperation is a fitting recognition of the increasing security ties with Australia. There will be a ‘Make in India’ roadshow next year to invite Australia companies to India. During my meeting with Australian business leaders, I could see their willingness and eagerness to invest in India and such a roadshow will surely be very valuable in this context.

On a personal note, the affection from the Indian community was touching. Be it in Myanmar, Australia and Fiji, I will not be able to describe their warmth in words. I could see that they were proud of India and of the changes happening in India. I could see dreams and expectations in their eyes. As I said during the Indian community programme in Sydney, we are fully aware of the expectations and we will leave no stone unturned in creating the India of their dreams.

There was immense glee on the faces of our diaspora when I announced the visa-on-arrival facilities and the OCI and PIO merger in Australia and Fiji. It is our aim to make the diaspora an integral part of our development journey and since the last few months we have channelized our efforts in this regard. We want to create an environment where our diaspora also feel that they can contribute towards India’s development. That is also the reason I urged NRIs to keep sharing their views and thoughts on www.mygov.in.

I fondly remember the reception at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was very kind of PM Abbott to specially fly down to Melbourne and host the reception, where cricketing greats including Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, VVS Laxman, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Dean Jones and Glenn McGrath joined.

Friends, my eastward travels over the past few days have been a reminder to me of what the world expects from India.

I saw in their eyes a desire to see India playing its part for a peaceful, stable and developed global community.

I also saw a reflection of the energy of our youth, keeping pace with rapid changes across the world.

I am convinced, with even greater consciousness, of the positive difference India can make on the world stage.

The world is looking at India with renewed enthusiasm.

We must reciprocate with a renewed commitment to our shared values and goals.

Together we shall script a better future for India and the rest of the world.

 Yours,

Narendra Modi

More information relating to the visit

Myanmar

Bilateral with President Thein Sein

Meeting with Aung San Swu Kyi

Indian Community reception

Videos from PM's visit to Myanmar

Opening Statement by the PM at India-ASEAN summit

G20

Speeches and Interventions

Text speeches

G20 bilateral/retreats

Australia

QUT

Addressing Australian businessmen in Brisbane and Melbourne

Meetings with Tony Abbott

Meetings with Australian political leaders

Address to Australian Parliament

Indian Community programme

War Memorial

Videos from PM's visit to Australia

Fiji

Welcome ceremony

Address to Parliament

Address to University

Videos from PM's visit to Fiji

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Venkaiah Garu- life in service of Bharat
July 01, 2024

Today, India’s former Vice President and respected statesman Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu Garu turns 75. I wish him a long and healthy life and also extend my greetings to all his well-wishers and supporters. This is an occasion to celebrate a leader whose life journey showcases dedication, adaptability and an unwavering commitment to public service. From his early days in the political arena to his tenure as Vice President, Venkaiah Garu’s career exemplifies his unique ability to navigate the complexities of Indian politics with ease and humility. His eloquence, wit and steadfast focus on developmental issues have earned him respect across party lines.

Venkaiah Garu and I have been associated with each other for decades. We have worked together and I have also learnt a lot from him. If there is one thing that has remained common in his life, it is the love for people. His brush with activism and politics began in Andhra Pradesh with student politics as a student leader. Considering his talent, oratory and organisational skills, he would have been welcomed in any political party but he preferred to work with the Sangh Parivar because he was inspired by the vision of Nation First. He was associated with the RSS, ABVP and then strengthened the Jana Sangh and the BJP.

When the Emergency was imposed almost 50 years ago, young Venkaiah Garu immersed himself in the anti-Emergency movement. He was imprisoned and that too for inviting Loknayak JP to Andhra Pradesh. This commitment to democracy would be seen time and again in his political career. In the mid-1980s, when the great NTR’s Government was unceremoniously dismissed by the Congress, he was again at the forefront of the movement to protect democratic principles.

Venkaiah Garu has always been comfortable swimming even against the most formidable tides. In 1978, Andhra Pradesh voted for the Congress but he beat the trend and was elected as a young MLA. Five years later, when the NTR Tsunami swept the state, he got elected as a BJP MLA, thus paving the way for the BJP’s growth across the state.

All those who have heard Venkaiah Garu speak will vouch for his oratory skills. He is certainly a wordsmith but he is as much a worksmith. Since his days as a young MLA, he began to be respected for the rigour he put in to legislative affairs and speaking for people of his constituency. No less than a stalwart like NTR noted his talent and even wanted him to join his Party but Venkaiah Garu refused to deviate from his core ideology. He went on to play a big role in strengthening the BJP in Andhra Pradesh, going across the villages and connecting with people from all walks of life. He led the Party on the floor of the Assembly and even became the AP BJP President.

It was in the 1990s that the BJP central leadership took note of Venkaiah Garu’s efforts and thus in 1993 began his stint in national politics when he was appointed the Party’s All India General Secretary. It was truly a remarkable moment for a man, who as a teenager would go around announcing the visits of Atal Ji and Advani Ji, to be working directly with them. As the General Secretary, he was focused on how to bring our Party to power and ensure that the nation get their first ever BJP Prime Minister. After the move to Delhi, there was no looking back and he rose to become the National President of the Party.

In 2000, when Atal Ji was keen to induct Venkaiah Garu in the government as a Minister, Venkaiah Garu instantly conveyed his preference for the Rural Development Ministry. This left everyone including Atal Ji puzzled. After all, here was a leader who was being asked which portfolio he wants and his first choice was Rural Development. But, Venkaiah Garu was clear- he was a Kisan Putra, he had spent his early days in the villages and thus, if there was one area he wished to work, it was rural development. As Minister, he was closely associated with the conception and rolling out of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana.’ Years later, when the NDA Government of 2014 assumed office, he handled the crucial portfolios of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. It was during his tenure that we launched the important Swachh Bharat Mission and important urban development related schemes. Perhaps, he is one of the only leaders to have worked for both rural and urban development for such an extensive period.

When I came to Delhi in 2014, I was an outsider to the national capital, having worked in Gujarat for the previous decade and a half. In such times, Venkaiah Garu’s insights were very handy. He was an effective Parliamentary Affairs Minister - he knew the essence of bipartisanship but at the same time he drew a line when it came to Parliamentary norms and rules.

In 2017, our Alliance nominated him as our Vice-Presidential candidate. We faced a dilemma – we thought about how the big shoes of Venkaiah Garu would be impossible to fill, but at the same time, we also knew there was no better candidate for the Vice Presidency than him. I can never forget one of the speeches he gave when he resigned as Minister and MP. He could not control his tears when he recalled his association with the Party and efforts to build it. It gave a glimpse of his deep-rooted commitment and passion. Upon becoming the Vice President, he undertook various steps that also enhanced the dignity of the office. He was an outstanding Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, ensuring that young MPs, women MPs and first time MPs get the opportunity to speak. He put great emphasis on attendance, making the Committees more effective and also raising the level of debate in the House.

When the decision to remove Articles 370 and 35(A) were placed on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, it was Venkaiah Garu who was on the Chair. I am sure it was such an emotional moment for him- the young boy who was drawn to Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s dream of a united India was on the Chair when this was finally achieved.

Apart from work and politics, Venkaiah Garu is a voracious reader and writer too. For the people in Delhi, he is known as the person who brought the glorious Telugu culture to the city. His Ugadi and Sankranti programmes are clearly among the most cherished gatherings in town. I have always known Venkaiah Garu as someone who loves food and also hosting people. But, off late, his self-control has also been visible to everyone. His commitment to fitness is seen in how he still plays badminton and enjoys his brisk walk.

Even after the Vice Presidency, Venkaiah Garu has led an active public life. On the issues that he is passionate about or on various developments that take place across the nation, he calls me and asks me about it. I met him most recently when our government returned to office for the third term. He was delighted and conveyed his best wishes to me and our team. I wish him once again on this milestone. I hope young Karyakartas, elected representatives and all those who have a passion to serve learn from his life and imbibe those values. It is people like him who make our nation better and more vibrant.