Greetings once again to my Indian brothers and sisters settled in South Korea. I would like to thank all of you for welcoming me with this warmth.
I was told that you have been waiting here for a long time. Well, even if it is cold outside, you will feel warmth inside. We should look for the positive in everything. I am overwhelmed by your love.
This is my second visit to Korea and my interaction with the Indian community here. Business contact is not the only basis for India-Korea relations; but the main basis is 'people to people contact'. Whether you return to India or not you all Indians are a strong foundation of our relationship. 'Rajdoot' or Ambassador is one but 'Rashtradoots' are numerous. This amicable and intimate relationship between India and Korea is not new.
During ancient times, India's princess Suriratna had reached here after covering a distance of thousands of kilometres. She had married Korea's King. Even today, lakhs of Koreans consider themselves to be their descendants. Therefore, we can say that we have a blood relation with Koreans.
The blood flowing in the people of Korea also has part of India. Even today, there is a statue of the Princess at Ayodhya. The First Lady of Korea, Kim Jung Sook was a witness to it last Diwali. It was a grand event at Ayodhya. Probably, it was telecast here as well. Just like Ayodhya was illuminated after the return of Lord Ram, thousands of years later Ayodhya was once again illuminated in a similar way.
The India-Korea relationship has been strengthened also by Buddhism. A Korean Buddhist monk Hyecho had visited India in the 8th century.
It is good to know that just like the way the ancient things inspire us, you are also contributing a lot to the development of Korea. Here, there is great respect for Indian intelligence and skill. You are contributing to research and innovation in Korea. You are providing R & D facilities to Korean companies from India. Additionally, Indian academics, researchers and post-doctoral students are working or studying in leading Korean universities. And the Indians living here are participating not only in the prosperity of Korea but also in the culture and social life here.
There is a lot of respect and love for Yoga in Korea. You all must be practicing Yoga. I don't know but if an outsider ever asks you something about Yoga, you will instruct them to sit by holding their nostrils.
In Seoul, Busan and other cities, more than two thousand people took part in the International Yoga Day with great enthusiasm. In Korea, you not only celebrate Holi, Diwali, Baisakhi and other Indian festivals but also involve your Korean friends in it. Now in Korean cities, Indian restaurants have started finding a place. At the same time, Indian dishes too have found a place in their menus. The people here have started understanding its meaning as well.
Indian movies are very popular here. We can hear 'Kabbaddi-Kabbaddi' from Korean children. In 2018, the Korean team has also won silver medal in Asian Games. I congratulate the people here for the same.
I have said before that ambassador is one but wherever an Indian is present, that person becomes 'Rashtradoot' or nation's messenger. Due to the hard work and discipline of the 30 million overseas Indians, the nation's credibility has been enhanced. Whichever country I visit, I feel extremely pleased to hear that the Indians are known as law abiding people in those countries.
This year is special for our country. Why? It is special because it marks the 150th anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. This is an occasion when we should commemorate him and seek inspiration from his teachings. Unfortunately, the way the identity of such a great personality like Mahatma Gandhi should have spread throughout the world, didn't happen at that time.
The world knows Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Kennedy, but even today if you talk about Gandhi, people ask – who and from where? Is it not our duty to ensure that the name of such a great personality - Mahatma Gandhi should be known to every child in the world? This should be our dream.
He was an international personality. Today as the world is faced with myriad challenges, the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi becomes all the more relevant. Bapu had a lot of respect towards nature. He had emphasized upon creating a balance between his life and environment. Bapu is being honoured in a unique way in Korea. In the memory of Bapu, we are all going to plant 150 plants in Korea.
Our relationship with Korea is strengthening day by day. Korea and India are moving forward shoulder to shoulder in promoting peace, stability and prosperity across this region. There is a clear and intuitive partnership between us. We can mutually benefit each other.
The presence of the Indian companies in Korea is strengthening this partnership further. Korean brands have become a part of every household in India. LG, Samsung, Hyundai have even reached the villages of India. These are a part of our day to day language.
Today the whole world is looking at India with expectant eyes. We are today the fastest growing economy in the world. Our economy has grown stronger. Before 2014, we used to hear that India was among the 'Fragile Five' countries. We would drown and take you down with us! Today, India is one of the largest economies of the world and also the fastest growing economy. In a few years from now, India is moving towards becoming the five trillion dollar economy. It will join the five trillion dollar club soon. That day is not far away. When I took over in 2014, economically our position was 11th in the world. Today we are in the sixth position. Believe me, we will soon be fifth. And we are making efforts to ensure that India reaches top 3 in the coming one and a half decades.
During the last four and a half years, we are trying to ensure Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living. We are also achieving success due to continuous economic and social reforms. The biggest indirect tax reform, the goods and service tax, GST is a part of the system today. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel had united the country and now the economic integration of the country was done by GST. We have moved firmly towards cashless economy. We have maintained fiscal discipline. As a result, in the last four years, in terms of Ease of Doing Business, we have jumped 65 places in the global ranking and the world is wondering that is it possible for such a vast country, a country full of such diversity, a developing country, to make such a big leap?
The World Bank Chairman had especially called me to tell - "it is a big surprise for us that a nation could bring such great results with determination and India possesses that strength". We have achieved this in a short span of time. The day we got this result, this huge leap in ranking, people started celebrating. I said - promise me. How can we reach 50th position? How can India make its place in the top 50?
India is considered as the brightest spot for investment in the world. Therefore, India has received a record two hundred sixty three billion dollar FDI over the past four years.
Some of you might have recently visited India. Did you see any change in your country? Tell me. Don't you ever come to India? In case you did visit India, you would have seen the transformation. India has been transforming rapidly during the last four years.
Today almost every person in India has a bank account. More than 33 crore accounts were created in just one thousand days. And a report says that fifty per cent of the bank accounts created in the world in the last four years were created in India alone. And the bank accounts have not merely been created. The poor people would also want to save in those accounts. Today 12 billion dollars have been deposited in those accounts. The world is watching closely the revolution of financial inclusion now.
Under the Mudra Yojana, hundred and twenty eight million people have been given micro credit of more than ninety billion dollars, and you will be happy to know, 74 per cent of these are women and most of them have taken loans for the first time. They have seen the banks for the first time and have taken money for the first time. You can estimate the huge revolution that has been created.
There are affordable pension and insurance schemes for social security that have premium rates ranging from 90 paise to Re.1. Ninety paise is nothing. With this small amount of premium, the poor is getting insured for Rs.2 lakhs. Ayushman Bharat Yojana is today the world's biggest health insurance scheme. It is also known as Modi Care. Fifty crore people are getting free treatment. Fifty crore means more than the total population of America, Canada and Mexico put together. India has taken this initiative.
Statue of Unity is the world's tallest statue. India is known for that. There are several initiatives like this one that have enhanced the country's prestige.
Digital India has changed the lives of the people of India rapidly. Today almost every Indian has a biometric identity. Optical fiber has reached in one lakh and twenty-five thousand villages of the country.
India is today among the world leaders in several aspects. The world has set the year 2030 as the target in ending TB; but India has set it at year 2025. And I assure you on behalf of the 130 crore Indians that we will achieve this goal by 2025.
Today we are showing the path to the world in terms of clean energy.
With our initiatives to establish and speed up the international solar alliance, India is moving rapidly towards both the green economy and the global leadership.
Today our country has become the sixth largest producer of renewable energy in the world. Today, India's prestige has enhanced around the world. Do you experience it or not? When you shake hands with others, people are not ready to leave your hand. India!! Have you experienced this change or not? This is the change.
I urge you to share the information on positive development in India with your Korean friends. Today, Make in India has emerged as a Global brand. Together with friendly countries like Korea, we want to become a major hub of electronics manufacturing in the world.
A new energy is visible in India. As a representative of this energy, tomorrow I will be honoured with the Seoul Peace Prize. This award is not mine. I have come on behalf of 130 crore Indians and 3 crore overseas Indians, only to accept the honour. This award, this honour is the honour of every Indian, the honour of the hard work of every Indian citizen. This award recognizes the consistent hard work of Indians over the last four years.
I once again express my gratitude to all of you for enhancing the honour of our country and best wishes from my side for your progress and achievements in this country.
The Kumbh Congregation is not new to our country. I don't know if the newer generations visit it or not. But the older generations here would definitely want to visit the Kumbh. Whenever the thought of festivals of the country and such congregations come to mind, a picture flashes in front our eyes. The Kumbh Congregation is not small. Population equal to that of a European country gathers on the bank of river Ganga every day. And during the entire duration of Kumbh Mela, the population of those taking dip in Ganga will be more than 4 Koreas put together. By the time the event will conclude, the population four times that of Korea will have bathed in Ganga. And for the first time it has been observed that the people were extensively talking about the management and cleanliness of the Congregation. Otherwise it was our habit not to pay attention to these things. For the first time, the New York Times has specifically mentioned the cleanliness of the Kumbh Congregation while describing it. The Kumbh Congregation of this year is a live example of what a nation could achieve if it is determined.
The nation is transforming at a rapid rate. It is progressing at a rapid rate. And wherever I go, I don't meet the Indian community for free. I ask them a favour in return. Will you do me a favour? People say - Modi is not going to come back to ask. He will leave and may come back after 3 years, or 4 years. Who will remember that? I am not like that. I will ask you. Will you do me a favour? The voices have become weak. Every Indian, in whichever part of the world - whether studying, working in factories or in management, is usually in contact with the local population. This is quiet natural. Have you ever thought of pushing 5 non-Indians every year to visit and see India? Could you just do this? Indians spread all over the world can decide to go and invest in the country. But everyone doesn't have the money. He spends during his life and saves a little.
But he could do one thing for serving the Nation i.e. to inspire at least 5 non-Indian families to visit India every year. You can imagine how India's tourism will be boosted with this step. You can do such a great service to the nation.
Now that I have asked you to do a favour, I will ask the Embassy about the number of visas that have been applied for. And in my opinion, India fulfills every promise made. Well, I am praising you and you are laughing?
I will come. I will come again and again! Don't worry. And when I come, I will again ask you this question. See, it will be a great service to the nation.
You came here to attend this event in this freezing cold weather to bless me. I am extremely grateful to you!