“Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go”
As leaders of two great democratic nations with diverse traditions and faiths, we share a vision for a partnership in which the United States and India work together, not just for the benefit of both our nations, but for the benefit of the world. We have vastly different histories, but both our founders sought to guarantee freedoms that allow our citizens to determine their own destiny and pursue their personal aspirations. Our strategic partnership rests on our shared mission to provide equal opportunity for our people through democracy and freedom. The currents of kinship and commerce, scholarship and science tie our countries together. They allow us to rise above differences by maintaining the long-term perspective. Every day, in myriad ways, our cooperation fortifies a relationship that matches the innumerable ties between our peoples, who have produced works of art and music, invented cutting-edge technology, and responded to crises across the globe.
Our strategic partnership is a joint endeavor for prosperity and peace. Through intense consultations, joint exercises, and shared technology, our security cooperation will make the region and the world safe and secure. Together, we will combat terrorist threats and keep our homelands and citizens safe from attacks, while we respond expeditiously to humanitarian disasters and crises. We will prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and remain committed to reducing the salience of nuclear weapons, while promoting universal, verifiable, and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament. We will support an open and inclusive rules-based global order, in which India assumes greater multilateral responsibility, including in a reformed United Nations Security Council. At the United Nations and beyond, our close coordination will lead to a more secure and just world.
Climate change threatens both our countries, and we will join together to mitigate its impact and adapt to our changing environment. We will address the consequences of unchecked pollution through cooperation by our governments, science and academic communities. We will partner to ensure that both countries have affordable, clean, reliable, and diverse sources of energy, including through our efforts to bring American-origin nuclear power technologies to India. We will ensure that economic growth in both countries brings better livelihoods and welfare for all of our people. Our citizens value education as a means to a better life, and our exchange of skills and knowledge will propel our countries forward. Even the poorest will share in the opportunities in both our countries. Joint research and collaboration in every aspect—ranging from particles of creation to outer space — will produce boundless innovation and high technology collaboration that changes our lives. Open markets, fair and transparent practices will allow trade in goods and services to flourish. Our people will be healthier as we jointly counter infectious diseases, eliminate maternal and child deaths, and work to eradicate poverty for all. And they will be safer as we ensure the fullest empowerment of women in a secure environment. The United States and India commit to expand and deepen our strategic partnership in order to harness the inherent potential of our two democracies and the burgeoning ties between our people, economies, and businesses. Together we seek a reliable and enduring friendship that bolsters security and stability, contributes to the global economy, and advances peace and prosperity for our citizens and throughout the world. We have a vision that the United States and India will have a transformative relationship as trusted partners in the 21st century. Our partnership will be a model for the rest of the world.
India came of age in the United States with an epic show of political, social and economic clout, and cohesion on a raucous Sunday afternoon at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. In a chest-swelling, heart-stirring show of bipartisan strength, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overseas Indians indulged in a mutual love-fest that sharply etched the country's growing power and profile in the minds of Americans, represented at the unprecedented Indian political rally by more than two dozen US lawmakers and governors.
Chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai: and "Modi, Modi, Modi" rocked the iconic and gladiatorial arena that has witnessed many a great sporting battle and entertainment show, but nothing like this event, even though it has hosted political convention. As Prime Minister Modi walked in slowly, his Navratri fast now past 100 hours, the 18,000-plus audience erupted in joy and pride in a show of strength that will almost certainly be factored into US perception of India, now and forever.
The Prime Minister hit all the right buttons in a speech that received a rock-star ovation. He brought the roof down with crowd pleasing jokes about how a country that was once regarded as a land of snake-charmers was now spinning the world around its finger with a (computer) mouse and how India had sent a spacecraft to Mars for seven rupees a kilometre when it cost 10 rupees a kilometre in Ahmedabad ("Spoken like a true Gujarati," quipped someone). But at the heart of his speech talking up India was an appeal to the wealthy and skilled NRI/PIO constituency to give back their talent and experience to a country that nurtured them.
For nearly an hour, the man who once trawled New York and much of USA in the 1990s before he was banned from visiting till recently held his overseas constituency spellbound, telling them about the pride, problems, and promise of India. India, he said, had three strengths no country in the world has: Democracy, demographic dividend, and demand. The country was not just a back office to the world, but also had the capacity to be the world force of the world considering Indians had migrated to every corner of the world. As a country that was home to people from every corner of the world, the United States, he suggested, was a natural partner.
Fervent applause and cheers interspersed his nearly hour long address during which he took a swig of water only at the start and kept up a strong voice as the podium rotated 360 degrees. Dressed in a saffron jacket, he spoke extempore in Hindi, his speech relayed and translated by more than a dozen networks across the world. "God bless you!" someone shouted out in the middle of his speech. "When I have the blessings of 1.25 billion people, it feels like God has indeed blessed me," he told a worshipful live audience of 18,000 people that no Indian leader has ever attracted outside India.
In a soaring finale redolent of Martin Luther King's I have a dream address, Modi said he felt indebted for the boundless love and affection Indians in India and abroad had showered on him. ''I will clear this debt, I will make an India of his dreams,'' he promised as a confetti of tri color and red-white-and-blue balloons rained down the arena.
Regardless of one's political leanings or affiliations, it was a matchless, unprecedented show that bespoke the power and reach of the Indian diaspora. To paraphrase the poet Rupert Brooke, "There is some corner of a foreign field that will forever be India." This afternoon, it was the Madison Square Garden, New York.
Some announcements that PM Modi made during his speech
* Life time visas for persons of Indian origin (PIO) cardholders
* PIO and OCI cards to be merged to arrive at a common card
* Those who come to India for longstay will not have to report periodically at police stations as is the present requirement
* US nationals to get long term visas and visa on arrival following electronic travel authorization
No time frame was announced for the implementation of these reforms.