Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hit back at Pakistan saying that India has never coveted territory. Speaking after the inauguration of Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi, PM Modi said, ‘India has never attacked another country’, Pakistan was responsible for all four wars against India.
“India has not attacked anyone. It is neither hungry for any territory. But in the two World Wars (in which India had no direct stake), 1.5 lakh Indian soldiers had laid down their lives fighting for others,” the Prime Minister said at the inaugural ceremony of the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, a modern complex dedicated to overseas Indians here.
His statement came days after the Indian army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control as also in the backdrop of Pakistan’s constant clamour for highlighting the Kashmir issue at the international fora.
Modi lamented that despite the great price paid by Indians, India could not make the world realise the importance of its sacrifice. He said whenever he went abroad, he made it a point to visit the memorials for the Indian soldiers.
The Prime Minister said the Indian diaspora did not believe in indulging in politics or grabbing power abroad, but on the other hand, they mingled with other communities.
Indians, the Prime Minister noted, lived abroad with the principle of “social well-being. They are like water. They change their colour and shape as per the need,” he said.
Observing that the Indian diaspora should not be looked at in terms of its numbers, but in terms of its strength, he said there were countries where the Indian community was more powerful than the Indian missions and could help removing the “fear of unknown” amongst the people there towards India.
While much has been spoken about brain drain, if the strength of the Indian diaspora was channelised, “we can convert it into ‘brain gain’,” Modi said.
Like dams channelise the energy of water to make electricity, a source is needed to utilise the energy of the 2.45 crore strong Indian diaspora to “light up India”,he said.
He also commended the role of the Ministry of External Affairs in helping people of Nepal in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and evacuating Indians and other nationals from hotspots like Yemen.
He said, “In past two years you have seen how Government has rescued people from conflict regions, not only Indians but also foreigners.”
Modi said India has made a place for itself and the world now accepts India as a major contributor in extending humanitarian aid and added that other nations now sought Indian help in pulling out their citizens from trouble spots.
Crediting the success of Pravasi Bhartiya programme to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi said that Connecting with the diaspora is important. “Atal ji coined idea of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and it has been continued since then,” he said.
The Prime Minster also paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi saying that the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra has been inaugurated on October 2 because even though Bapu had left the country love of people and call of the nation brought him back.