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Indian Flag Became My Guarantee: PM Modi

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New Delhi: PM Modi in an interview with ANI in an interview talked about various achievements of his government in the last 10 years. The PM said that the India-Middle-East-Europe Economic Corridor, for which an agreement was reached during the G20 summit hosted by India last year, will be a “big game changer like the Silk Route”.

PM Modi also talked about the consensus reached at the G20 summit on the declaration, among speculations in some quarters that such an outcome will be difficult due to differences in positions on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. PM Modi said he pushed forward the consensus declaration to cause a surprise.

Referring to the India-Middle-East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), he said Gulf countries played a positive role and the US and Europe too supported India in this. The handshake between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Joe Biden at the G20 had evoked headlines globally. Replying to a query on the “classic handshake” between the US President and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, he said PM Modi said he has a friendship with both leaders.

“We have worked on the IMEC, which is going to be a big game changer like the Silk Route was a game changer. There was a positive and proactive role of the Gulf countries. India got an opportunity to play a good role. The US and Europe were with us. And everyone thought that there would be a concrete, positive outcome. So we used to meet on that,” he said.

India, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor during the New Delhi G20 Summit held in September last year. The Prime Minister underlined that G20 events were held in every state of India and said while the guests got to see different parts of the country, the citizens also learnt about G20.

PM Modi also responded to a question about apprehensions in certain sections of foreign media about democracy sliding if he grows stronger and said India is the mother of democracy.

“The first thing is what is their terminology and what is the basis of their coming to this conclusion. This is a matter of research in itself. But I don’t understand that in a country where 6 lakh panchayats are run by the elected people, and where elections are held regularly, there are so many states and so many party governments. In our country, there might hardly be a political party that has not been in power somewhere. So despite all this, if he says that someone is becoming the supreme leader, then I think he has a lack of knowledge,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi also talked about his government’s efforts to forge better ties with neighbours and said the neighbours are the happiest. He said the government has given priority to “Neighbourhood First” and Act East policies. PM Modi said that today there are countries which are hundreds of miles away from the world even though they see the benefits from India’s progress. He added that the neighbours still can’t see it. He said India had helped all its neighbours during COVID-19 and India was the first responder during an earthquake in Nepal.

Replying to a query on Pakistan and ties with some other neighbouring countries, PM Modi pointed to compulsions of their internal politics. PM Modi said “In this their internal politics is important. More than the relations between India and those countries, some things are important for their internal politics.

He also talked about the Indian students stranded in Ukraine due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Noting the power of the Indian flag in a foreign land, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it was the strength of the Indian flag that became his guarantee when so many people from India, as well as the youth, were trapped in Ukraine at the time of the conflict. PM Modi said that it was the Indian tricolour that became his “guarantee” during the time of the raging war between Russia and Ukraine.

PM Modi said, “I have been very friendly with both the presidents (Russia and Ukraine). I can publicly say to President Putin that this is not the time for war. I can also say publicly to Ukraine that we should follow the path of dialogue,” underscoring that “this is because I have credibility.”

“…When I said that so many people from India, our youth is trapped. And I need your help. And what can I do for you? Then I said, I have arranged so much. You help me so much. They helped. The strength of the Indian flag was so great that even a foreigner used to hold the Indian flag in his hand. So there was a place for him. So my flag became my guarantee,” the Prime Minister emphasised.

PM Modi said that although there have been a lot of ongoing discussions about Ukraine, he has seen many such incidents since 2014. The Prime Minister also referred to the direct call from him to the Saudi King in the year 2015, which helped India evacuate on a mass scale. Indians and foreigners were stranded in war-torn Yemen when bombing by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Yemen made it difficult to evacuate Indian nationals.

The Prime Minister said, “I spoke to the Saudi King and told him that I want to bring people from Yemen there. So your bombarding is going on, we are not able to do it, How will you help us? So he said, Please try to understand me. And Sushma ji has said all these things in her interview. There used to be a period when at the request of India, there was no bombarding. And at that time, we used to take our people out in aircraft. We brought about 5,000 people from Yemen. It was the same in Ukraine.”

In March this year, PM Modi held separate telephonic conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He dialled Russian President Putin and congratulated him for his re-election to the top office, as well as both leaders agreed to intensify efforts towards expanding the India-Russia ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’. He reaffirmed India’s stand on dialogue and diplomacy as a way for the resolution of the conflict.

(With ANI Inputs)

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