WASHINGTON DC (TIP): When Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint sitting of US Congress on Wednesday, June 7, he became the sixth Indian PM to do so. Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narsimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Dr. Manmohan Singh were the Prime Ministers of India who had addressed the US Congress.
Speaks of shared history, aspirations, concerns and strengths
In the course of his 45-minute speech, Modi covered all major aspects of the growing relationship between India and the US, particularly strategic ties and civil nuclear cooperation, and emphasized that the two countries should leave “constraints of the past” behind as the “foundations of the future are firmly in place”.
PM Modi also talked about terrorism. He said there was no good terrorist or bad terrorist. A terrorist is a terrorist. In an apparent reference to Pakistan he called for isolation of those who harbor and support terrorists and said that terrorism had to be fought with “one voice” as he commended the American Congress t for sending out a clear message by refusing to “reward” those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains.
Modi spoke candidly about the shared concerns and strengths of the two democracies. (Read the full text of Modi’s speech at www.theindianpanorama.com)
Modi had the Congress in splits for a minute, when he spoke of the political values the world’s oldest democracy shares with its largest one.
“I am told you are well-known for your bipartisanship,” he began, sending the US Congress members into peals of laughter and applause. “Well, you are not alone. Time and again, I have also witnessed a similar spirit in the Indian Parliament, especially our Upper House,” he added, referring to regularly stormy scenes in the US Senate, which presently has a Republican majority under a Democratic President.
“So, as you can see, we have many shared practices,” he rounded off, referring to his own troubles in the Rajya Sabha, where his government is in a minority.