Bangkok: India has eliminated a big reason behind sowing of seeds of terrorism and separatism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Saturday, in a clear reference to abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and reorganisation of the state.
The Prime Minister's remarks on Kashmir at an Indian diaspora meet in this bustling Thai capital city were greeted with laud applause and a standing ovation by around 5,000 people. "You are aware that India has decided to eliminate a big reason behind sowing of seeds of terrorism and separatism," Modi said.
"When a decision is right, its echo is heard across the globe. And I can hear it in Thailand as well," he said at the 'Sawasdee PM Modi' event at an indoor stadium in central Bangkok. The government has been maintaining that Article 370 providing special status to Jammu and Kashmir was a reason behind terrorism and separatism in the state.
As people stood up and hailed his remarks, Modi said the standing ovation was for India's Parliament and parliamentarians and that their blessings will further energize Indian lawmakers to work harder for the nation. "Your standing ovation will further energize our Parliamentarians. It is a salute to India's Parliament," he said.
In his nearly 50-minute speech Modi also spoke on a range of issues including the welfare measures rolled out by his government, his return to power with a bigger mandate in the Lok Sabha elections, strength of the Indian economy, importance of Indian diaspora in overall growth of the country and how India is emerging as a "major power" globally.
Modi said his government was working to fulfil those aspirations which seemed impossible earlier, adding people's expectations go up from those who work. "People want more work from those who deliver. Their expectations go up from those who work," he said, drawing another round of laud applause.
PM Modi also highlighted India's Act East policy and the importance of the country's ties with 10-nation ASEAN grouping, besides referring to historical linkages between India and Thailand. The prime minister, on a three-day visit here, will address the annual ASEAN-India summit on Sunday. In his address, Modi also traced historical and cultural links between India and Thailand, saying the relationship has been of “heart and soul”.
Noting that Indo-Thai relationship reflects greater amalgamation of cultural bonds, he said his government has been focusing on enhancing the North Eastern region's connectivity with Thailand. "Once the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway is thrown open, there will be seamless connectivity between both our countries," Modi said.
"This is my first official visit to Thailand, and I can see a lot of Indianness in various aspects in this country—be it culture, food habits or social values...The entire world celebrated Diwali along with India, and I can see that it was the case here too," he said.
The Prime Minister also talked about the Thai royal family's ties with India and even said that Queen Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is a Sanskrit scholar with a deep connect with India. "The affinity and closeness the Thai royal family has for India reflected the strong historical relationship between the two countries,” he said.
In his speech, Modi also talked how the government is celebrating 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, and said his teachings were a treasure for not only the Sikh community but for the whole world.
Modi also talked about the Kartarpur Corridor and said pilgrims will be able to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan once the corridor is thrown open next week. The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place Guru Nanak - with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.
Talking about various reform initiatives undertaken by his government, Modi said Indians across the globe feel proud about the changes taking place in India in the last five years. “When India speaks, the whole world listens to it because 1.3 billion Indians are involved in building a new India. Because of the changes, people of India have given us bigger mandate in the Lok Sabha polls then earlier,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said India was among the fastest growing economies in the world and that the country is working hard to become a USD 5 trillion economy in next five years. Modi also said that his government decided that holders of the Overseas Citizens of India card can enrol for the new pension scheme, adding his government is also working hard to significantly improve visa consular services abroad.