Sushma Swaraj hails performance of PM Modi government
Bangkok: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today hailed the 13-month performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on the domestic and foreign fronts saying a "change" has come about and now "the world listens when India speaks".
Addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora here in Thailand's capital, where she arrived for a three-day visit to attend the 16th World Sanskrit Conference and to sign some bilateral agreements, Swaraj also urged them to turn their focus on their motherland and pay off their "maati ka karz".
The 16th World Sanskrit Conference begins tomorrow in which over 600 scholars from 60 countries will participate.
Acknowledging that there are lot of expectations from the government, which is first single-party majority government in the last 30 years, she claimed, "In last one year, India's image has been bolstered in foreign shores. When India's image is bolstered, the image of Indians living there also gets a boost. When India speaks today, the world listens to it. A change has come. The change is also visible in India".
Naming a number of schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, Make in India, Skill India, Namami Gange, Smart City plan and others including the new pension schemes, the External Affairs Minister said, "this was Prime Minister Modi's leadership" as she lauded the step of opening bank accounts with zero balance as a "big social inclusion" which happened because the Prime Minister wanted to do it.
Swaraj was speaking at a dinner hosted in her honour here where a free mobile application on Yoga was also launched.
She told people of Indian origin living in Thailand that the situation in India has changed under the Modi government and there are now ample opportunities for them to contribute to the development of India.
"I have come here to tell you to give some attention to India. Invest a part of what you are earning here in works like construction of a toilet in your village...Do a bit for your country from whatever capacity and strength you have acquired here," she said.
It is estimated that there are around 200,000 people of Indian origin in Thailand. Reaching out to them, she said that Indians can be taken out from India but India cannot be taken out from Indians anywhere.
Holding that Indians living here might have left their country earlier due to lack of opportunities in past, "but today there are so many opportunities that time has now come to return to India. Today when you have gained strength, time has come back to pay back to your soil (maati ka karz). You should definitely spare a part of your earnings for India".
Swaraj claimed that the country's image got a boost worldwide ever since the Modi government came to power and talked at length about the success of International Yoga Day on June 21.
"The resolution was passed within a record time of 75 days and this is the first resolution in which 177 countries had become co-sponsors for World Yoga Day, which was a world record. Even to celebrate Nelson Mandela's birthday, (only) 165 countries had become co-sponsors," she said.
During her visit, Swaraj will also co-chair the India-Thailand joint commission meeting during which the two countries will sign a double taxation avoidance treaty and exchange instruments of ratification on the extradition treaty signed between them in 2013.
The two countries will also sign an MoU on establishment of Nalanda University.
While Swaraj will be the guest of honour during the inaugural ceremony of World Sanskrit Conference tomorrow, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani will attend its concluding ceremony on July 2.
Swaraj will deliver her speech in Sanskrit at the event.
A significant development during Swaraj's two-day visit here will be the signing of an MoU on the establishment of an Ayurveda Chair in one of the Thai universities.
During the visit, Swaraj will also meet Indian business leaders and interact with academicians.
She will meet Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a Sanskrit scholar and Royal Patron of the World Sanskrit Conference.
On Monday, Swaraj will call on the Thai political leadership.
She will meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn.
On her arrival here, Swaraj was received by Chalit Manityakul, Ambassador of Thailand, and senior officials from Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Coinciding with the Conference, Doordarshan will launch a weekly news programme in Sanskrit in India.
Promotion of Sanskrit has been a focus area of the NDA government ever since it came to power in 2014.