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Translation of Prime Minister’s address at community event in Thailand

November 04, 2019

Honorable Minister of Social Development of Kingdom of Thailand,
Honorable Members of Thailand-India Parliamentary Friendship Group,
Freinds,

Hi
Kem Chho?
Sat Sri Akal,
Vanakkam,
Namaskaram,
Savadi Khup,


Coming among all of you here in this ancient Suvarnabhumi, Thailand, it seems that you have come to this Suvarnabhoomi and painted it with your own colors. This atmosphere, this dressing style, provides an all-round sense of belonging. It’s not just because you all are of Indian origin, but the sense of belonging can be felt and seen everywhere. Whether it is the conversations or the food or traditions and faith or in the architecture here, we definitely feel a sense of Indianness somewhere. Friends, the whole world has just celebrated the festival of Deepawali. A large number of people have come to Thailand from Purvanchal in India. And today in eastern India and now almost in whole India, the festival of Surya Dev and Chhath Maiyya is being celebrated with great pomp. I extend my best wishes for Chhath Puja to the people of India as well as to my friends living here in Thailand.

Friends,


This is my first official visit to Thailand. Three years ago, on the death of the King of Thailand, I came here personally to pay homage on behalf of India. And today, during the reign of the new King of Thailand, and at the invitation of my friend Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, I have come here today to attend the India-ASEAN Summit. I convey my best wishes to the entire Royal Family, the government of the Kingdom of Thailand and my Thai friends on behalf of 1.3 billion people of India.

Friends,

The attachment of Royal Family of Thailand to India is a symbol of our close and historical relationship. Princess Mahachakri herself is a great scholar of Sanskrit language and has a deep interest in culture. Her intimate relationship with India is very intense, and knowledge is very wide and it is a matter of great fortune for us that India has expressed its gratitude to her with the Padma Bhushan and Sanskrit Award.

Friends,

Have you ever thought about how this relationship became so intimate? What are the reason for these deep contacts and intense relationship between us? This mutual trust, this co-mingled lifestyle, this harmony - where did they come from? There is a simple answer to these questions. Actually, our relationship is not just between the governments. And nor can we say that any particular government is responsible for this relationship, and it happened at their time, we cannot even say that. The reality is that every moment of history, every aspect of history, every event of history has developed, broadened, deepened and elevated these relations to newer heights. These relationships are of heart, of soul, of faith, and spirituality. The name of India is associated with the Jambudweep of the mythological period. Thailand was part of Suvarnabhumi. Jambudweep and Suvarnabhumi, India and Thailand - This association is thousands of years old. The southern, eastern and western coasts of India were connected to the Southeast Asia thousands of years ago with a sea route. The bridges of prosperity and culture which sailors built at that time by sailing thousands of miles on the waves of the sea, they still exist. Sea trade was done through these routes only. People moved through these routes. And through these routes only our ancestors shared religion and philosophy, knowledge and science, language and literature, art and music, and their way of life as well.

Brothers and Sisters,

I often say that Lord Rama's dignity and Lord Buddha's compassion, both are our common heritage. Just the way life of crores of Indians is inspired by the Ramayana, the same divinity is there in the Ramakien in Thailand. Ayodhya of India becomes Ayutthaya in Thailand. The Narayan who took incarnation in Ayodhya, his revered and sacred Garuda has a special reverence in Thailand.

Friends,

We are very close to each other, not only at the level of language but also at the level of emotions. So close that sometimes we don't even realize it. For example, just as you said to me Sawadi Modi. Sawadi is related to the Sanskrit word Swasti. It means Su plus Asti, i.e. welfare. That is, may there be your welfare. Be it the greetings or the faith, we can see embedded marks of our close relationships everywhere.

Friends,

In the last five years, I have had the opportunity to visit many countries of the world and I always try to meet the Indian community everywhere, visit them and get blessings from them. And even today you came in such a large number to give your blessings, I am very grateful to you all. But whenever I have had such meetings, I could see a wonderful confluence of the civilizations of India and their host country in every Indian community. I take great pride that wherever you live, India lives in you and the values ​​of India's culture and civilization are alive within you. I feel equally happy when the leadership of those countries and the leaders there, the business leaders there, praise the talent, hard work and discipline of the Indian community. I feel very proud. They seem convinced of your tendency to live with peace and harmony. This image of the Indian community all over the world is a matter of great pride for every Indian, for the whole of India, and for this, all of you spread all over the world deserve congratulations.

Friends,

I am also happy that wherever there are Indians in the world, they stay in touch with India. They keep themselves abreast of news of what is happening in India and some people even take the news. And with the progress of India, especially with the achievements of the last five years, the heads of my countrymen living all around the world are held high and their chests expands. Their confidence increases manifold and this is the strength of the country. They can tell their foreign friends, look - I am of Indian origin and how fast my India is moving. And whenever any Indian in the world says something, then the world listens to it very carefully today. You must have experienced it in Thailand as 130 crore Indians are engaged today in building a New India. Many of you, who have been to India 5-7 years ago, will be experiencing a marked change when they visit now. The result of the change that is coming in India today is that once again the people of the country, the countrymen have once again blessed me, this servant of theirs in the last Lok Sabha elections more than ever.

Friends,

India is the largest democracy in the world and it is a matter of pride for us that we are the largest democracy in the whole world and the world knows this too, but in true sense how the greatest celebration of democracy i.e. election is held, this can be understood by someone who has participated in that. One who could have seen it with their own eyes. You probably know that in this year's general elections, 600 million voters voted, highest in the history. This is the biggest event in the history of world democracy and every Indian should be proud of it. But do you also know that for the first time in the history of India, the number of women voters i.e. the women who vote, they are no longer behind men, the same number of women are casting their vote now as the men. Not only this, more women MPs have been elected in Lok Sabha this time than ever before. Do you also know that our commitment to democracy is so deep and you will be surprised to know that in Gujarat, in the forests of Gir, there is only one voter, just one, that too in the forest, in the hills. A separate polling booth for that one voter was made. This is an example of how big democracy is for us, how important it is.

Brothers and Sisters,

In India, and this too probably will be a news for you, after six decades i.e. after 60 years in India, a government has got an even bigger mandate after completing the term of five years. It happened once 60 years ago, this is the first time after 60 years. And the reason for this is India's achievements in the last five years. But it also means that the aspirations and expectation of the people of India have increased. People ask work from the ones who work. And who do not do any work, public keep counting their days. Public give tasks to those who work. And so friends, we are now working to achieve the goals that once seemed impossible, could not even be imagined, it was assumed that it was just not possible. You are all aware that India has decided to liberate the country for a very big reason which would plant the seeds of terror and separatism. Do you know what did we do? What did we do? Every Indian living in Thailand knows what India did. When the decision is right, the intention is right, its echoes are heard all over the world and today I am hearing that in Thailand too. This standing ovation of yours is for the Parliament of India, for the Members of the Parliament of India. Your love, your enthusiasm, and your support will become a very big power for every Parliamentarian member of India. I am grateful to you, please sit down. Thank you.

Friends,

Recently, on the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, India has declared itself Open Defecation Free. Not only is this, today the kitchen of the poorest of poor of India, now becoming Smoke Free. We have given free LPG gas connections to 8 crore homes in less than 3 years. 8 crore, this number is larger than the whole population of Thailand. Ayushman Bharat, the world's largest healthcare scheme, today is giving Health Coverage to about 50 crore Indians for free treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh. The scheme has just completed a year recently, but almost 60 lakh people have received free treatment under it. This means that in the next two-three months this number will become more than the total population of Bangkok.

Friends,

In the last 5 years, we have connected every Indian to a bank account, connected to an electricity connection and now we have started with a mission and working towards making adequate water available to every household. 2022, when India will celebrate 75 years of independence. Efforts are also being made to give concrete houses to every poor by 2022. I am confident that when you hear about these achievements of India, the sense of pride increase further.

Friends,

When I came on stage today, just shortly prior to that I had the privilege of releasing commemorative signs of two great sons of India, two great saints. I remember that 3-4 years ago I had the opportunity to launch a Gujarati translation of Saint Thiru Valluvar's magnum opus Thirukkural. And now I am confident that Thirukkural's translation into Thai language will also greatly benefit the people of this land. Because it is not just a book, but a guiding light for living life. The values, which are included in this almost two and a half thousand year old book, are our precious heritage even today. For example, Saint Thiru Valluvar says - Talatri Tand Porul-Ellam Takkarak Velanamai Saydar Porootatti. Which means that when qualified person earns money with hard work, they use it for the welfare of others. India and Indians still take inspiration from this ideal.

Friends,

Today commemorative coins have also been issued on the occasion of the 550th Prakashotsav of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. And I was told that 50 years ago, here in Bangkok, the 500th Prakashotsava of Guru Nanak Dev Ji was celebrated with great pomp and show. I believe that his 550th Prakashotsav will also be celebrated in a grand way. The Gurunanak Dev Ji garden built by the Sikh community here in Fitsa-Nulok or Vishnulok is a commendable effort.

Brothers and sisters,


On the occasion of this holy festival, the Government of India has been organizing programs all over the world including Bangkok for the past one year. Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not belong to India only, not only to the Sikh Panth, but his thoughts and sermons are the heritage of the whole world, the whole of humanity. And we Indians, have a special responsibility to provide the benefits of our heritage to the whole world. It is our endeavor to facilitate our friends of the Sikh faith around the world to connect with the centers of their faith.

Friends,

You will also be aware that after a few days, direct connectivity to Kartarpur Sahib is also going to be established. After opening of Kartarpur Corridor on 9 November, now the devotees from India will be able to directly visit the Kartarpur Sahib. I would also urge you to come to India in greater numbers and experience the legacy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji himself.

Friends,

The government is also working continuously to further increase the attraction of pilgrimage sites associated with Lord Buddha in India. From Ladakh to Bodh Gaya, Sarnath to Sanchi, unprecedented efforts are being made for connectivity of places related to Lord Buddha. Such places are being developed as Buddha circuits. Modern facilities have been built there. I am sure that when you all go there with your friends from Thailand, you will have an unprecedented experience.

Friends,

Textile has played an important role in our ancient trade relations. Now tourism is strengthening this link. India is also emerging as an attractive destination for the entire ASEAN region including Thailand. In the last 4 years, India has jumped 18 ranks in the Global Index of Travel and Tourism. These relations of tourism are going to get stronger in the coming days. We have further strengthened our facilities related to Heritage, Spiritual and Medical Tourism. Not only this, unprecedented work has also been done in the connectivity infrastructure for tourism.

Friends,

I had mentioned that I have come here for ASEAN-India and the related meetings. In fact, promoting our relations with ASEAN countries is one of the important points of our government's foreign policy priorities. For this, we have given special importance to our Act East Policy. Last year it was the silver jubilee of the India-ASEAN partnership dialogue. It was for the first time on this occasion that the top leaders of all ten ASEAN countries came together for a Commemorative Summit in India and they honored us by attending our Republic Day on 26th January.

Brothers and Sisters,

It was not just a diplomatic event. The luster of India's shared culture with ASEAN could not only be seen at the Republic Day parade, but it reached every corner of India.

Friends,

Whether it is physical infrastructure or digital infrastructure, today we are also expanding India's World Class facilities to connect Thailand and other ASEAN countries. Whether it is Air, Sea or Road connectivity, India and Thailand are moving at a great pace. Today, about 300 flights operate between the two countries every week. 18 Destinations of India are directly connected to Thailand today. Today, the situation is that the average flight time between any two Destinations of both countries is between 2 to 4 hours. This is like as if you are flying within India. My parliamentary constituency, the oldest city in the world; Kashi, now has a direct flight to Bangkok which started this year, and has also become very popular. Because of this, the connection of our ancient cultures has been strengthened and a very large number of Buddhist tourists, those who want to visit Sarnath, come here a lot. Our focus is on connecting North East of India to Thailand. We are developing North East India as a gateway to the South East Asia. This part of India will give strength to both our Act East Policy and Thailand's Act West Policy. This February, in Bangkok, the same thinking was behind celebrating the first ever North East India festival outside India. I am told that this has also increased curiosity and improved understanding of North East India in Thailand. And yes, once the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway i.e. Trilateral Highway is started, then Seamless Connectivity between North East India and Thailand will be there. This will also increase trade in this entire area and tourism will also get more powerful.

Brothers and Sisters,

I am also happy that all of you are playing an important role in strengthening Thailand's Economy. You are the strongest link between the strong trade and cultural ties of Thailand and India. Today, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In the coming 5 years, India is dedicatedly working to become a $5 trillion economy. When we are working towards this goal, then obviously your role is also very important in this.

Friends,

Today we are encouraging Innovative Minds and Talent in India. The work that India is doing in Information and Communication Technology, efforts are also being made that Thailand also benefits from it. Be it space technology, bio-technology or pharma, cooperation between India and Thailand is growing rapidly. Recently our government has taken an important decision in the field of research and development between India and ASEAN countries. We have decided that Post-Doctoral Fellowship in IITs will be offered to one thousand youth of ASEAN countries. I would urge your Thai colleagues and students here to take maximum advantage of this and you should tell them too.

Friends,

Since last 5 years, we have made constant efforts to make the government always available for Indians settled around the world and to further strengthen their connect with India. For this, the OCI Card Scheme has been made more flexible. We have recently decided that OCI card holders can also enroll in the New Pension scheme. Our Embassies are now more proactive in resolving issues related to you and are available 24 hours a day. We are also continuously working on making Consular Services more efficient.

Friends,

Today, if India's reach has increased in the world, then there is a big role of friends like you behind it. We have to strengthen this role further and I believe that wherever you are, whatever resources you have, whatever ability you possess, you will definitely find an opportunity to serve Mother India. With this belief I Once again express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you for coming here in such large numbers to bless us.

Many-many congratulations.
Thank you!
Khop Khun Khap !!!


Disclaimer: PM's speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of the speech.
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