Addressing the Indian diaspora before winding up his two-day visit to Singapore, Modi said his government is laying thrust in generating of power from clean and renewable sources like solar, nuclear, wind and biomass with the target of 175 giga watts and in turn reduce dependence on coal.Setting the tone for Paris climate change conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that India will not create any “problems” for the world in combating global warming, an apparent response to the US’ contention that it will be a “challenge” at the meet. He said India needs huge amounts of energy for development but will do whatever it can to deal with the problem of climate change as it sees the world as one family.
Addressing the Indian diaspora here before winding up his two-day visit to Singapore, Modi said his government is laying thrust in generating of power from clean and renewable sources like solar, nuclear, wind and biomass with the target of 175 giga watts and in turn reduce dependence on coal. “By 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day, we want to provide 24×7 electricity to all the villages,” he said. “We need power but we will not create problems for the world,” the Prime Minister asserted as he highlighted how environment is worshipped in India and invoked Mahatma Gandhi in this regard. His assertion came days after US Secretary of State John Kerry said India could be a “challenge” at upcoming climate change talks in Paris beginning November 30 as it “has been more cautious, a little more restrained in its embrace of this new paradigm”. India has been resisting the efforts of the developed world to put the onus of the climate change problem on developing countries, citing the “historical responsibility” of the industrialised nations in polluting the environment. It is pressing for funding and transfer of low-cost technology to developing nations by the developed countries to enable them to meet their developmental needs in a clean manner.
“40 percent of the electricity generated will be from non-fossil sources,” Modi said. “There are small island nations which fear that they will be drowned by global warming. We will not let that happen. India will do whatever we can (to combat climate change) as we believe in ‘vasudeva kutumbakam’ (whole world is one family),” he said in his 75-minute speech. Sending out a message to the developed world, Modi said Indians see God in elements of the environment like plants, water and sun and worship them as if it linked to their life.”We cannot even think of damaging the environment,” he added. Talking about his government’s efforts to boost solar power generation, the Prime Minister said it is expensive and hence India needs funds, technology and collaboration with foreign countries having expertise in the field. “People are seeing new opportunities for investments (in this field),” he said.
In his speech, Modi also talked about his efforts to build relations with countries across the world, developmental endeavours at home and the importance of unity and harmony for preserving the country’s pride. He recalled his earlier statement that India, under him, will “look at the world neither with low esteem nor proudly but on equal terms. Today, the world is dealing with India on equal terms.” Giving the example of International Yoga Day celebrated on June 21 across the world, Modi said India needs to highlight with “self-confidence” its rich culture and tradition. “Did Modi bring Yoga? It was already there. But there was hesitation on part of our predecessors in propagating it as they were worried about what the world will think. But if we have self-confidence, the world will walk with you,” he said. He said his government has been working to raise the self-confidence of the people of the country while focusing on development which will “wipe the tears of people, provide jobs, bring about prosperity for farmers, empower women and move ahead in the world with the mantra of ‘unity and integrity’.” Talking about opening up of various sectors for foreign investment, the Prime Minister said he does not see FDI only as Foreign Direct Investment but also as ‘First Develop India’.
He said India needs to learn a lot from how Singapore was developed in 50 years, transforming a small village of fishermen into one of the most developed nations. He referred to the reforms in railways and defence sectors which have been opened for FDI and said efforts are underway to get latest technology from the developed countries so that manufacturing in India could get a boost. The Prime Minister said the FDI over the last 18 months of his government has gone up by 40 per cent. “Why do we need this money? This money is not just to show on papers but to bring about transformation.” With regard to the railways, the Prime Minister said he does not see it only as a mode of transportation but as an ‘engine of transformation’ of India. He said this mode of transport should be faster and modern and to ensure this the government has raised the FDI cap in this sector to 100 per cent. While speaking about efforts to attract FDI and technology, Modi said there were some people who were still wondering as to why he went to London last week. He then added that a significant outcome of that visit was that Indian Rupee made a debut in the London Stock Exchange. “It should be seen as a matter of prestige for the country. If we keep cursing ourselves, then how will our image improve,” he remarked, in an apparent message to the opposition. On defence sector, he said even 70 years after Independence, India continues to import everything needed forthe country’s security.
“We need to change this situation. We need to spend on defence… We have decided that in the case of special technology, 100 per cent FDI will be allowed…. We have youth power, we have capabilities to ‘Make in India’….That is why the world is seeking partnership with India,” he said. Modi said there was a time when allegations of corruption shrouded defence deals. “Because of this, no decisions were taken (on defence deals),” he said in an apparent dig at the former governments. “In 18 months of our government, we have taken decision after decision but no finger has been raised against us so far,” Modi said. Underlining that the world is now inter-dependent, he said nations cannot remain isolated and even most powerful country has to depend on small nations at times. In this context, he talked about how he sought the help of leaders of various countries in evacuating Indians from troubled West Asian nations like Yemen, Libya and Iraq. “Formalities do not work anymore…If India has to move forward, it has to make its own place… If India has to make space, it has to have freshness in approach,” he said. Modi also took a dig at media, saying that before becoming the Prime Minister he would be questioned as to what he knew about foreign relations since he was the Chief Minister of one state Gujarat.
“They would repeatedly ask me this question as they felt it was my weak point.” The Prime Minister said India can no more just rely on the “stories of ‘valour’ of the past. We need to take inspiration from them and make efforts to raise the stature of the country through development…. Till then, the world will not recognise us.” He referred to the problems in West Asia, saying it was going through a “storm” with terrorism hitting the region badly. In such a situation, the Indians living there look up to the government of India for help and asserted that his dispensation will always rise to the occasion, he said. “We will never leave them in the lurch,” he said. Praising the Indian diaspora, Modi said the NRIs have contributed immensely in enhancing the country’s image while merging with the local populace, wherever they went for work. He drew comparison in cleanliness between India and Singapore and said there is a lot to learn.