India full of diversity, It is our pride and our strength: PM Modi

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India full of diversity, It is our pride and our strength: PM Modi at Wembley Stadium

Facing attack back home over the issue of intolerance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India’s diversity was the country’s “strength and pride” and underlined the importance of peaceful co-existence.

Modi also said that there is no reason for India to remain poor, asserting. “we harbor poverty for no reason.” “India is full of diversity. This diversity is our pride and it is our strength. Diversity is the speciality of India.” he said, adding that despite the country being home to diverse religions, over 100 languages and 1,500 dialects Indians have proved how to live together.

Modi was addressing thousands of people, almost all of Indian origin, at a Grand Community reception in his honour at the iconic Wembley Stadium, home to rock concerts and England’s national soccer team. The event was themed ‘Two Great Nations, One Glorious Future’.

Courting the Indian diaspora with rock star-style tour on the second day of his three-day visit to the UK–the first by an Indian Premier in 10 years–, Modi got a rapturous welcome when he reached one of Britain’s most famous sporting venues this evening. An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people were present at the event, according to the organisers.

Your warm welcome makes me feel home,” Modi told the biggest gathering of Indian diaspora he has ever addressed since assuming office in May 2014.Modi was introduced to the gathering by British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose wife Samantha, draped in a saree, was also present.

Cameron greeted the assembled audience with a “Namaste” which drew loud cheers and followed up with another greeting “‘kem cho'(How are you?) Wembley” in Gujarati. He renewed his pitch for India getting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

“When it comes to UN we know what needs to happen- India with a permanent seat at the UN Security Council,” Cameron said.Britain has a 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora population. The event was held in a carnival atmosphere following celebrations for Diwali festival.

Performers included Indian-origin pop star Jay Sean, popular Bollywood singer ‘Baby Doll’Kanika Kapoor and Alisha Chinai, who belted out her famous ‘Made in India’ Hindi number of the 90s, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

A dynamic cultural show showcasing dance styles prevailing across India besides a variety of dance mixes with Bollywood songs was on display. The audience also heard classical, folk art and contemporary music performances. There was also a performance by Scottish bagpipers.

Special ‘ModiExpress’ buses were deployed to transport the attendees from across the UK.

Modi told the gathering that newspaper and TV headlines are not the barometer to assess a country, a veiled reference to a number of reports in the British media today that were critical of his past and his record on human rights besides bringing up the issue of perceived intolerance in India.

“India is not only that much what is seen in newspapers. India is much bigger. India with its 125 crore people is much bigger and better with a preeminent position beyond the screen of Television,” he said.

Referring to his meeting with leaders of the Sikh community yesterday, Modi said, “We shared our thoughts on various subjects. I understand their pain on some issues as well.Modi said the two dreams India were working towards was a clean India and India with 24/7 electricity. “18,000 villages in India need electricity. In next 1,000 days we will ensure they get it.”

“The pace and direction of progress in India is such that the fruits of development will be seen very soon,” he said.World is seeing India as a land of many opportunities”.

The Prime Minister announced a direct Air India flight between Ahmedabad and London from December 15. He said this connectivity had been established in 2003 during Vajpayee government but was discontinued later.What is the use of taking names as to who did it,” he said in apparent dig at the UPA government.

During the course of his 75-minute address, Modi referred to a youth Imran Khan of Alwar in Rajasthan who made 50 mobile applications and dedicated them to the students without charging anything.My India resides in people like Imran Khan,” he said.
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