His Excellency President Museveni, his wife Janet Museveni Jiand my dear brothers and sisters present here in large numbers,
I have a relationship of love and affinity with all of you. I am a part of your family. I am a part of this huge family and because ofthis thing my joy goes up several folds after meeting with you people. Today, hon’ble Mr. President himself is present here in order to add more prestige to our interaction.
His presence here also symbolizes his infinite love for 1.25 billion Indians and for thousands of Indians living here in Uganda. And therefore I express my heartfelt regards to Mr. President. While today I have come here amongst you tomorrow I am going to get the opportunity to address the parliament of Uganda. And you people have heard my address in detail in the Parliament in Delhi two days ago. You people have heard it too and the entire Uganda was listening it. I am extremely grateful to you people.
My dear brothers and sisters,
This is for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister will get the opportunity to address the parliament of Uganda. I would like to express my gratitude to the President and people of Uganda on behalf of 1.25 billion Indians.
Friends, it has been a matter of pleasure and happiness for any Indian to visit Uganda and have a meeting and dialogue with all of you.
I only have this expectation from you people that may I continue to receive your enthusiasm, your love and affection and your feelings like this. This is the second time that I have got the opportunity to visit Uganda and to meet all of you. I had come here 11 years ago as the then chief minister of Gujarat and today I have come here as Prime Minister of the country.
When I was chief minister of Gujarat even at that time I had got the opportunity to meet face to face with several people who are amongst youtoday and have a free-wheeling discussion. I see a lot of familiar faces here before me and I am happy thatMr. President introduced them one by one. What a close relationship he has with you people and today we spent the entire day together and he discussed about several families by their names and told me that how he knew them. And for how many years he knew them. He told me all these things.
This respect has been earned by you people due to your hard work, your conduct and your character. It’s not a mean achievement what you people have earned. And several generations who have come here from India they have attached themselves to this land and they have loved it.
Friends, India’s relations with Uganda are not new. Theseare centuries old. We have a relation of hard work, the relation of fighting against exploitation. Today, whatever development has been achieved by Uganda, it also has the scent of blood and sweat of Indians as well along with the scent of blood and sweat of people of Uganda. There are several families amongst you who have been living here for three-four generations. I would like to remind the youth, the youth of Uganda present here that the train in which you people travel, that train is also providing momentum to the relations between India and Uganda. It was that period when India and Uganda both were enslaved by one power. At that time our ancestors were brought here from India. They had been forced to lay the railway track by use of guns and hunters. Those great souls had carried out their struggle in those difficult times by joining hands with the brothers and sisters of Uganda. Uganda gained independence but a lot of our ancestors decided to settle down here. They mixed with the society like sugar mixes in the milk, similarly our people became one with the people here.
Today, all of you have been providing your energy in all the fields here whether it is development of Uganda, or the business, arts, sports, in all the sectors of the societyyou people have beendedicating your lives. Ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed here in Jinja.Several Indians have made active contribution to the politics of this country and they have still been doing it today. Late Narendra Bhai Patel was the first Non-European Speaker of the parliament of Independent Uganda. And he had been elected unanimously. Although there was a time when all of them had to face problems and some of them had to leave the country as well. However, the people and government of Uganda never let them go out of their hearts. Today, I express my heartfelt gratitude to the President of Uganda and along with himto all the people of Uganda for the way they have once again embraced the Indian community.
There are several people amongst you who have been born here and perhaps some of you would have never got an opportunity to even visit India. There will be some people who would not be even aware about their roots, perhaps, they would not be aware that from which state or village or city they had come. However, even then you people have kept alive India in your hearts. If one beat of your heart is for Uganda then another one is also for India. In true sense of the word, you people are India’s ambassadors, India’s national ambassadors in the world. Just a while ago, when I was coming to the stage along with the President then I saw that how cultural programs have been organized here before my arrival. This thing in itself is commendable that the way you people have preserved this truly mesmerising Indian-ness.
I can say it on the basis of my earlier experience and my today’s experience as well that there are very few examples of this thing the way you people have been living with the feelings of Indian languages, Indian food and art and Indian culture; and also with the feelings of unity in diversity and family values and the feeling that the whole world is one family; and that is why every Indian is proud of you; 1.25 billion Indians are proud of you. I too respect you and bow down to you.
Friends, along with Uganda, several other African countries are extremely important for India. One of the reasons for this thing is the presence of large number of Indians here like you people. And the second reason is that all of us have fought a collective battle against slavery. Third, all of us are facing the similar challenges of development. We have a long history of sharing our joy and pain with each other. We all have learned something or some other thing from each other and we have supported and assisted each other too as per our capabilities. And even today we have been moving forward together with the same spirit. We want strong defense relations with Uganda. We have been making arrangements to provide training to Ugandan military in India as per their requirement. These days more than thousand Ugandan students have been studying in India.
Friends, India has changed a lot since the time most of you came here. Today, the way Uganda is among one of the fast growing economies of Africa, similarly, India too is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. India’s economy is providing momentum to the development of the entire world. Today, Make in India has become India’s identity in the world. Today, we have been selling cars and smart phones manufactured in India to those countries from where we used to import them. It is very much possible that when you go out to buy a smart phone here in Uganda then you will come across to ‘Made in India’ label.
Recently, the foundation stone for the world’s largest mobile manufacturing unit has been laid in India. India has been fast emerging as a manufacturing hub for the world. In addition to this, India has made digital technology a tool for the people’s empowerment. Many services related to government are available on mobile phones. From the registration of birth of a child to the registration of death, most of the services have been made digital, they have been made available online. Today, the work to link every major village body of the country with a broadband internet connection has been going on at a fast speed. Today, things like needle to railway tracks to the coaches for metro train to satellites have been produced in India by using the steel manufactured in India. India is moving at a fast pace to emerge as a hub not only for manufacturing but for start-ups also.
And wherever I go in the world, I certainly remind gentlemen like you that what kind of image of the country was created earlier. A country with thousands of years old glorious past was presented as a country of snake charmers. India was presented to the world like this only. India means – snake charmers and occultism. Wasn’t this the identity? Our youths changed this image and perception and made India the land of mouse – it means the land of IT software.
Today, the same youth have been launching thousands of start-ups for the country and the world. You will be proud to know that in the last two years alone more than 11,000 start-ups have been registered in the country. Our youths are making innovations as per the requirements of the country and the world and finding solutions for the problems. Friends, today, electricity has been provided to all the six lakh villages of the country. Today, there is no village in the country which does not have electricity supply. How easy it is to get electricity connection in India, you can understand this thing by the World Bank’s ranking. In the last four years, India has jumped 82 places in the ease of getting electricity ranking. Today, we have reached on the 29th position in the world. It’s not just that now electricity is available but an effort is also made to reduce the people’s electricity bills through a campaign. Hundred croresLED bulbs have been sold in the country in the last four years. More than 100 crores. Friends, many changes of this kind are taking place in India because there has been a massive change in the system and society there. Today, India is moving forward with a solemn pledge to make a New India.
Friends, I was eager to visit the country since the time I became Prime Minister. Three years ago when Mr. President has visited India to attend India-Africa Summit then he had strongly urged me to visit Uganda. However, the program could not be firmed up due to some or some other reason. I am happy that today I got the opportunity to have an audience with you people. In the last four years, we have laid special emphasis on our relations with Africa. Today, Africa has a place of importance in India’s foreign policy. When we have organised India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015 then we had invited all the countries of Africa. Prior to that the meetings were arranged only with select countries. It was a matter of happiness that not only all the countries accepted our invitation but the top leadership of 41 countries also participated in the program and all of them came to Delhi. Africa also embraced India when we extended our hands and it held our hand.–There will not be a single country in Africa where no minister level visit has taken place from India in the last four years. More than 20 visits have taken place at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister. In addition to India-Africa Forum Summit, the heads of 32 African countries have met Indian leaders by visiting India. We have decided to open our embassies in 18 countries and it will increase the number of our embassies in Africa to 47. Our cooperation has been there in the social development and struggle of Africa. We have been ensuring our active participation in the economic development of the continent. And this is the reason that that the annual meeting of African Development Bank was organized in India last year. Credit lines for projects worth more than $3 billion have been approved for Africa. We have a commitment of $10 billion under the India-Africa Forum summit. In addition to this, we are committed to provide a grant of $600 million and scholarships to 50,000 students in India. The provision of e-visa has been made for 33 African countries to visit India and the results of our strong commitment towards Africa are now becoming visible.
Last year, India’s trade with African countries has registered a growth of 32 per cent. I had urged all the African countries to take membership of International Solar Alliance and after my appeal now half of the members of the alliance are from Africa.
African countries have supported India in one voice at international forums too. I believe that the presence of Asian and African countries are becoming stronger day by day in the new world order. In this direction, mutual cooperation between the countries like us will certainly bring a positivity and positive change in the lives of crores of people.
I thank all of you very much for the enthusiasm and zeal with which you have come here by taking out your time and showered your love, affections and blessings on me.
I convey my heartfelt regards to Mr. President, to the government and people of Uganda.
And you people are aware about 2019! I am not thinking what you are thinking! What are you thinking about 2019? What are you thinking? Oh! In January, PravasiBhartiya Divas is going to be organised on 22-23 January. And this time the place of the program is Kashi – Banaras. And I have come here to invite you on behalf of Kashi, the place, the people of that place has made me Prime Minister, made me MP and the country that made me Prime Minister. And it is also a matter of happiness that Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit takes place in Gujarat, so that event is also there around 18-19-20. Please spend 22-23January in Kashi, as Kumbh fair is starting from 14th January in Prayag, so after spending 22-23rd in Kashi please go to Kumbh fair from Banaras. Take a dip in Prayag Raj and after that you should come to Delhi on 26 of January and it’s a complete one week package for you in India, there are so many events one after another.
Today, I have come here to invite my brothers and sisters in Uganda, you people please visit us. The love and affection that you showed, India’s best wishes are with you people for your progress. And your life here has been contributing in making India proud and therefore we also feel proud for this thing too. Once again I thank you people very much. Thank you very much.