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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
13-April-2015 18:01 IST
English Rendering of the Text of PM’s address at Community Reception hosted by Indian Ambassador at Berlin, Germany

My dear countrymen present here,

My dear countrymen present here,

 

Before I begin, I would like to talk about the sad news I received today that one of Germany’s most distinguished writers and Nobel laureate Mr. Gunter Grass passed away today at the age of 87.  An iconic figure who won Nobel Prize for his works in the field of literature, he will always be remembered as the person whose ideas and thoughts continue to be the source of inspiration for the generations to come. My tributes to him on behalf of the people of India. In our culture, words are considered eternal. Words never die and those who serve it also become immortal in a way. I am sure that his lifelong dedication, devotion and words will continue to inspire all those concerned with human values not just in Germany but the world over. I pay him my respects once again.

 

Yesterday I was in Hannover. India is a partner country at the Hannover Fair this time. Around 400 companies from India are participating. Now everywhere people feel that India is marching ahead on the road to development. These events not only help to showcase India but are also a learning experience. Sometimes we can be Hercules of our locality. However, it is only when we venture out do we realize where do we stand? Participating at such events inspires us to take on the challenges. We are inspired to think if they are moving ahead, then why can’t we. Let’s do something.  In a way it is an international benchmark and on the basis of such benchmarks we are able to assess if we are moving in line with the international standards or not.

 

I have firm belief that the participants from India will see and learn many new things from here and hence we benefit from this and they too benefit from us. Today I was meeting various participants at different stalls with Madam Chancellor in the Hannover fair. One of the companies showcased its modern screening technology i.e. if the car breaks down, the parts with the fault would be reflected on the screen. I said that you can see the parts in need of repairs but can we use the same technology for security. They were surprised and said that they did not think about it, but agreed to do something about it immediately. I told them that I do not charge royalty for my ideas. What I want to say is that when viewed from a different perspective the same technology can be used in multiple ways. The same technology, the same application but a different use altogether.

 

 

 

And I believe Indians have great expertise in this field. While cooking, our mothers and sisters do experiments with the food. Though Indianized to some extent they still make Chinese cuisine, Pizza’s and Mexican food in their homes. So we have this quality of adapting things according to suitability. But when we go to such event it is like a test for us. We are inspired to move ahead and others too perceive India differently. They realize India is not what we thought it to be, many developments are taking place in India. So they too feel like exploring and venturing in these fields. It is kind of a win-win situation for all. It is my belief that in the coming days India will become a manufacturing hub by continuing on its path of development.

 

It is the greatest need of the hour and if we lose this time then India will have to face losses for a very long time. When the Industrial Revolution took place in the world, India was enslaved. We had the talent and all kinds of potential. You must have heard and read that the Malmal Saree made in Dhaka could pass through a ring. But because we were enslaved during the phase of Industrial revolution, we could not capitalize that situation. And as for our talent, either it was crushed or was stolen and siphoned off. We were left behind. The Second revolution was the communication, the IT revolution. Because we were independent this time around, the 20, 22, 24 year old youth with their maverick fingers on the computers gave India a new identity. The world had to acknowledge India’s talent.

 

The IT revolution surprised the entire world by the talent of our youth. When American president Clinton came to India, then on his itinerary were villages in Rajasthan where women in veil were on the computers working for their cooperative society. He was very amazed to see it and was visibly surprised.  At that time, one of the elected Panch (Jurors selected at village level in India for resolving village level problems) veering through the security, made his way to President Clinton. He was member of Panchayat  from the Dalit community. Those who saw the live telecast that day might remember it. The villagers thought that what kind of a man is he, what will he say, he is not so good at communication. Some thought he would ask for visa, some thought he would ask a job for his son but surprisingly that uneducated person from a Dalit family, who was a Panch or village Juror, smaller than President Clinton in height, looked into his eye and asked him “will you still consider India backward?” This is what he asked and then President Clinton said “No, wherever I go in the world, there I will talk about the power of India”. And you see, from then on, wherever he went he narrated this incident and said that whatever you might be thinking about India, now it is time to change your perception.

 

What I want to say is that our youth in the second revolution, IT contributed a lot. They demonstrated their talent to the world. But what happens. When you go to Silicon Valley, 60-70% CEOs in the IT sector are from India, but Google was not born in India. It was set up  at some other place which then gives rise to a question that why wasn’t Google created in India.  The scientists were the same, the software engineers same. The biggest challenge currently is to create that environment where our talent, our brains which create things in the world should be able to do so in India.

 

There are a large number of Indian students studying in engineering field in Germany. They are young professional and are making big contributions in their respective companies. They are learning many new things. You have the basic knowledge, you have experience, you have innovations and the necessary infrastructure has been provided to you. Both you and we are utilizing our strengths and potential. Whatever you have achieved is because of your own efforts, not due to some reason. You have the zeal, the potential and the opportunity. Can you be a bridge to India? Can the professionals working in the manufacturing sector, who have the capabilities, in Germany act as a bridge between India and Germany? And a bridge not only between two nations but a bridge which takes us ahead from where we are currently standing. A bridge that helps us reach to our destination.

 

The country expects a lot from you and it is our responsibility. Wherever we are today, some poor man’s sacrifice is definitely behind that. No one can achieve everything on his own merit. If you have the potential, then think of ways to utilize it.

 

Many years back I went to America to watch the Olympics. I am not an  athlete and later got involved in another game altogether. But I wished to know how such a huge event is managed? I wanted to see how they organized it. I wanted to learn. This happened a long time ago. I had a chance to interact with the students of the Atlanta University. I had a long conversation with one Indian student. But later there was a program where students from different countries outside America were participating. I generally asked them about their plans. And I was surprised to see that the Chinese students were very clear. They were clear in their minds.  I asked them what your plan is after studies. They said very clearly, we will work here for 10 years and then head back to our country.I asked why?  They said, currently we are studying in the University; we do not have much experience. But when we work in a company we will learn many things. This learning we will take back to China and all of us will move ahead together. Now see their spirit, even in student days…… This was my interaction with Chinese students of Atlanta University.

 

What I want to imply here is that every nation has a spirit. And it is this very spirit that takes them forward. All of you have this privilege to be associated with the manufacturing sector in Germany - something it is identified with. IT played an important role in creating an identity for India. IT revolution led to a change in the mindset of those who considered India a backward uneducated country. But it is also true that only by making India a manufacturing hub we can ensure success for India in the second innings.

 

I am very clear in my mind that for the development of the country, a balanced growth is essential. India is such a huge country that something here can be used there. It is not possible? When I tell someone here that by 2020 I need 50 million affordable houses, they just can perceive it. For them 50 million new houses equals a new country.  They cannot think on that scale and magnitude. But we know that our country is huge and so for development we will have to balance three main things, we cannot tilt in favour of any one. One third agriculture, one third manufacturing sector and one third service sector. – We have to move forward balancing all three. We cannot be satisfied merely by some production in agricultural sector. If we want to take the agricultural sector forward then it is necessary that we encourage agro-processing and introduce technology in agricultural sector.

 

Today I saw the development of Computer Chip in the Hannover fair. It was being used to separate good and bad rice. This is what is going to happen in the days to come. We have to bring in some changes in our agricultural sector. First we need to see how to increase the productivity, to increase per hectare productivity and see what new technology as well as traditional methods can be used for achieving it. But at the same time it should be affordable to the farmers; our agriculture sector is in need of value addition.

 

And we too well know that if a farmer sells mangoes, his income is less. But if he makes pickles out of it then he earns more income. If it is bottled nicely then the earnings are even more. And if some actress markets it then the earnings are even more. When an actress promotes it, then people think that if she eats, we will eat too. Its not sure whether she eats or not but, What I am implying is that the agro products need value addition. Value addition requires technology and new innovations. We have to work as per global requirements and the current world trend is for “ready to eat packaging”. A vegetable is grown in some country; cut there, cooked there and packed there and then it is sent to some other country where it is eaten. The world has changed a lot. We have to correlate our agricultural sector with these changing trends.

 

We achieved great success in tea. Even after the success, two basic facts remained. It has created a new identity in the lives of the people; they are the basis of social relations and became a huge liquidity force for social relations in a way.  Secondly its simplicity, its packaging, no one really doubted its harms or discussed it. It got worldwide acceptance. The tea gardens became huge companies, but the status of the labourers remained the same. It was because of the rules and regulations dated to the British era. But it is changing now. What I am implying is that we have to look at increased productivity, value addition coupled with forward linkage and the target of capturing global market as far as agricultural sector is concerned.

 

There is a small state in India, Sikkim with 6-7 lakh population, but it receives almost 10 lakh tourists. Very few people know what strength lies in which corner of India.  Sikkim is located in the lap of Himalayas with China across the border. This small state took up the initiative of organic farming and crossed all global standards. It is today, the first organic farming state of India. Now the doors of the global market have opened up for the products made by them. We are making efforts so that they acquire a global market and their Rupee should be able to bring back dollars. It is a part of Organic farming. Our products which are sold in Rupees in world market should be sold in dollars. We are working in that direction. Not just Sikkim, the entire North East including Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya, all are such places where traditionally the use of chemical fertilizers is very less. We wanted to develop the North east as an organic state or an organic region. So we want to encourage things in such a way that the sector progresses and moves ahead.

 

Next is the service sector. What is it that India cannot give to the world? Tourism and hospitality “Atithi Devo Bhava” or “Guest is equivalent to God” is a mantra that flows in our veins. Tourism is the fastest developing industry in the world. It is a 3 trillion dollar business word wide but India has a miniscule share in it and Indians living abroad wish to do something for their country. They have been asking me for years what it that they can do for the country. Now you need not become a Bhagat Singh. We do not have what Bhagat Singh had in his destiny. It is not in our destiny to die for the country but we can certainly live for it. We might not be as fortunate to die but we certainly have the good fortune of living for the country. And therefore I told the families living abroad that wherever they are living they must be amidst the native residents of that country. If you are shop owners, you might be having customers of native residents of this country, if you are a student, you might be having native teachers. So I asked them if in a year it is possible for them to ask at least 5 non-Indians families to see India. It is a small task. Explain them that our country is worth visiting. Suppose there are 50,000 families in Germany. If they all send five families each, what a boost it will be to India’s tourism and I will not have to spend on Incredible India advertisements. There can be no bigger identity for Incredible India than you. You are Incredible India yourself. Does Incredible India exist in those stones and statues? You are the bearers of the legacy, so you are in fact Incredible India. Should we have this attitude or not?

 

Across the globe, the processing work has become so costly that it is being outsourced. India has many possibilities as outsourcing destination. There are many companies here who want to outsource and you can give them direction, give them the address that this is the place, get it done there.

 

India has a lot of potential as far as the service sector is concerned. We have the talent to attract the entire world. The biggest mistake that we made was to serve them with what they were already getting in America and France which was not required. We should offer what is ours. Then only the world will come to us. The world should connect with us because of our specialty. But we can associate them with us only when we are proud of our specialty. Once I had gone to USA on a government invitation. I had written in my itinerary that I wanted to visit the oldest thing. They took me to Pennsylvania and showed me a bell of Washington’s age. I was informed that it was the oldest thing in America. You come to India, see Ajanta and Ellora, see the Sun temple of Konark, they are thousands of years old. What is it that we do not have?

 

I have been born and brought up in Gujarat. There was a gentleman Dr. Hari bhai Godani in Gujarat. He was professionally a doctor but had interests in archaeology. He was aged but he pursued his interests.  In those days there would be just Ambassadors and Fiat cars. Ambassador cars for the Government Officials and Fiat cars were for the common man. It almost became symbol of identification. If an Ambassador car would pass, it would be identified as Government vehicle and if it was a Fiat car then it was thought that some gentleman was passing. So he had a Fiat car and called me over. I used to visit him sometimes to know and understand a few things. He said that he had ruined 20 fiats in carriage-carriers.  Whatever he earned, he would spend in the forests. He would traverse non-cemented or non-concrete roads and go looking for places where he could find some statues, some stones or something of some ruins of archaeological value. His individual collection site was bigger than that of government.

 

One day he showed me a slide. I was surprised as it was the slide of a stone statue. The statue was some 800 years old. Carbon dating was done to establish its age.  It was the statue of a pregnant woman.  Her stomach had been cut in half and another statue was carved within it. It showed the child in fetal position and the layers of skin, all this was etched on the stone.  800 years ago, the sculptor was aware of the position of the child in the womb and the number of layers the skin had. You can imagine what our ancestors could have achieved in science and knowledge?

 

But to show all these things to the world, we need to change. We have passed through the phase of enslavement where we thought we were of no good and everything about us is bad. Till we change our mentality we cannot promote tourism. We should be proud of what we have. Once this happens then things will move forward.

 

Look, I am from Gujarat, so it is natural to remember something from there. Lothal is a place 80 kms from Ahmadabad. You must have read or heard about Lothal. If not then just ask Google Guru it, you will know. It is a 5000 year old port and the products obtained in archaeological excavations tell us that flags of 84 countries were hoisted there. It means that 5000 years back it traded with 84 countries. And see the second uniqueness. At the time when Takshila and Nalanda laid acclaim to fame, there was another University Vallabhi which was equally famous. That Vallabhi University was 50 kms away from Lothal. It means that our ancestors knew that the children all over the world need to come to study, so a port was required and the university should be in proximity to the port. Students of different countries came for education there.

 

Whenever you hear such things your heart must be swelling with pride that look I belong to such a country. This feeling of pride strengthens the service sector. This work can be achieved better by those Indians who are outside India than those who are inside it. But as soon as we go out, we start saying ‘leave it, this country is like this only’. If we start making fun at ourselves , then we cannot be proud of our nation.

 

The third sector which I want to emphasize upon is the Manufacturing Sector. India has all what it takes to become the manufacturing hub.  The largest number of young people is in India. It is the world’s youngest country and 65% population is under 35 years of age. The entire world is ageing. It is ageing faster and India is becoming younger at a fast pace. In the coming days the average number is going to increase. The number under 25 years of age is going to increase. What was once a crisis is now a potential. If these young people have talents, skill then there will be great opportunity for manufacturing. India should be a manufacturing hub with low cost manufacturing.

 

There should be “Zero Defect – Zero Effect” manufacturing. I am talking about “Zero Defect – Zero Effect” because to become globally competitive the products should be zero defect. This applies not just to the product but to packaging also.

 

If you have written 220 gms, then it must be 220 gms. After all it is also a matter of credibility, which gives you a capability in the world. So we should see how to make ourselves globally competitive in the manufacturing sector and see that it has “zero Effect” on the environment. We will have to accept that kind of a progress. The world is worried about global warming and climate change, only India can show a way out of these problems. Our job is that to utilize this demographic dividend we have, through skill development, become a manufacturing hub and attract the companies from all over the world and work with the belief that no one has a better power at low cost manufacturing than us.

 

The Indian Youth took a mission to the Mars at a cost less than that of a Hollywood movie. Mangalyan! Be it Mumbai, Pune, Ahmadabad or Lucknow, the ride of a kilometer on road costs Rs. 10. For our Mangalyan, the journey to Mars cost us Rs. 7 a kilometer. By saying this I want to give you a glimpse of India’s talent. We can explain it to the world that India is the best suited destination for low cost manufacturing and so we are seeking Foreign Direct Investment in the manufacturing sector, something like defence manufacturing. There are so many youth working in so many companies here, you have everything.

 

Even today, for tears we have to depend on foreign countries. Whenever there is a movement, the tear gas used in dispersing agitated crowds is imported from foreign countries. It is not that we cannot manufacture it, but we have such an attitude. If it is being imported then why bother, why should we work hard? I want to change this attitude. Why don’t we ourselves make it and so for that we need to become a manufacturing hub. It is not just a commercial venture; it is also related to our pride. You just tell me how you would feel if you have to ask your neighbours again and again for something. In the past, if someone visited our home and we did not have sugar for tea then we would ask our neighbours. But we would hide it in our clothes while bringing it so that no one sees it, due to the self-respect. It was ok if we borrowed it when the guests came in suddenly. Even the neighbours wouldn’t mind. But we would hide and bring for it was related to our pride and dignity. So as a country it should be a matter of our pride and dignity, if we have to import items. Our mindset now should be that my country will give to others and not take from others. Indian youth have that potential, they only need an opportunity.

 

The government is making efforts in these three core sectors of development. In the past 10 months we have taken several steps in the past 10 months. The country is moving forward at a great pace. I can illustrate with an example. For the past 10 years 2 km road was being made per day, but over the past 10 months this average has increased to 11 kms per day. What is meaning of the government who intends to work? This is the answer.

 

It is evident everywhere. Now take the case of the railways. You can imagine there are tremendous possibilities of the development of the railways. Now the people will be thinking, Modiji went to Germany, what did he achieve? I do not know what the people of the world expect from me. In India, our media has a different set of expectations. Tomorrow I will go to see the Berlin railway station. I don’t think any Indian would have gone to visit the Railway stations.  I am visiting these places for I have a desire to change the railway stations in India. Today we have railway stations in the heart of the city. You can see it in Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Nagpur and many other cities. The land is at a premium. In India only the railway platform does not make the station. In the villages the rails run for 20 kilometers and are lying idle. The train runs only twice a day. Why not more number of times? Can’t we erect a 20 kilometer long new city along the railway tracks? Can’t stations be modernised? Can’t there be 10 story railway stations? The train can run on the rails and 50 odd jobs can be carried out above it. We have to think of ways to achieve development and how to develop infrastructure. Why shouldn’t we work on enhancing the speed of the trains among two cities? High speed rails can be developed between Delhi to Chandigarh, Delhi to Amritsar, and Delhi to Agra. Maybe we will not be able to achieve the current speed of 300 kilometers per hour as the world has. But if we are running on 60 we can at least take it to 120. It is my attempt to move ahead with several possibilities. As we will move forward, country will scale new heights, and we will get results.

 

The entire world is worried about global warming. Now that you are sitting here, you must be enjoying talking about these issues. So today I will give a special class to you on this subject, so that you can explain the world what we have stood for and what we have done for environment. I do not know why, but the entire world curses us for climate change. The ones who have wasted the most, are asking us questions. If there is any society that has served the nature then it is the Indian society. We are the ones who call the river our mother. We see God in plants. And the world is now telling us to do this and do that. We should make our stand very clear. The crisis which the world is passing through has a solution in our cultural values. Our lives are associated with morals. You should move ahead with this conviction and that is what is expected from Indian society.

In our country the women holds many fasts. In each of these fasts, they worship various forms of nature. To respect nature is a part of our value system. In our country when a kid learns to get down from the bed, the mother teaches him to first pay respect to mother earth and ask sorry for stepping on to it. A nation which has this kind of culture is now being held accountable. The image of Sun’s seven horses, means that we are the ones who consider sun as a source of power.

 

Jagdish Chandra believed that plants have life. It is not that once he proved then only plants got their life.  We have been treating the flora as God for a very every long time. I want to say that on this issue that we have the mastery and we are the experts. We are not answerable to the world. It is us who should be asking questions from the world who has ruined the nature. We are the ones who believe in milking the nature and consider the exploitation of nature as a crime. The world is facing crisis because it exploited nature. So we have moral right to stand on our ground, but yes a solution to the problems needs to be found.

 

India has taken a major initiative for renewable energy. Germany stands as a role model for this, especially in the field of solar energy. India has decided a target of 175 GW of renewable energy. India is being introduced to Gigawatts for the first time. Earlier we couldn’t think beyond megawatts. First time, in the past ten months we have moved on from megawatt to gigawatt. 175 gigawatt, out which 100 gigawatt will be solar power driven and 75 gigawatt will be obtained from wind energy and Bio Mass energy. Such things will be emphasized. Why don’t the German companies working in this field join us? Why shouldn’t there be more collaboration in the manufacturing sectors. There is a tremendous scope for this business, why don’t we collaborate in the field of solar panel manufacturing. How do we introduce innovations to make the solar power cheaper and viable?  You share you experiences with India, we have clear areas defined for collaboration. How do we benefit from it?

 

I think we can fight with the problem of global warming too.  These days we hear a lot about reuse and recycle. Well, I believe reuse and recycle is a part of our DNA but the world is teaching us. You must have seen in the villages, the clothes which become old were used to make a quilt by the grannies in the house. Was it reused or not?  When they got old and battered, then the pieces of cloth were used for mopping the floors. Isn’t it so? We have the expertise in deriving multiple uses out of a single object. Today, jargons of ‘reuse and recycling’ is being introduced to us by others.

 

Reuse and recycle is organic to our nature in India. In our country, the mother would safely keep the clothes of the elder child for use by the younger one. For this no articles were published in the newspapers nor were there any 24 hour programs on the TV channel. Nobody taught us, it has been integral to our nature.

 

But I am surprised that we never presented our case confidently and the world kept asking us to bring down carbon emissions.  The fact is that we are among the ones having the lowest per capita emissions. Still we are being made answerable. If we become confident we can show the world a way. We want to move ahead with this confidence.

 

A meeting of COP 21 will be organized in October in France. The world is paying attention to it but we are the ones who will set the agenda. I have come to assure you that India will set the agenda. And it will be based on our values which we have imparted to the world. We are not the ones to take from the world. We are a culture born out of the values of “Satyen Dharyate Prithvi Satyen Tapte Ravi”

Eat – Drink and remarry, this was not our culture.

 

“Satyen Dharyate Prithvi Satyen Tapte Ravi. Satyen Vaayvo vaanti Sarva Satye Pratishtha”

 

It means that the earth, the sun and the wind are all held by truth, truth here meaning the natural laws. Each and every force is governed by natural laws and so it shall prevail.

 

The traditions with which we are born teaches us to give to the world. We have our thousands year old history reinforcing that. With this faith and confidence let us scale new heights of development.

 

And I believe that Germany is one such country which has presented India in its true essence to the world. We are indebted to them and I would publicly want to thank them. There have been many stalwarts including Max Mueller and others ……… there was a time when they would broadcast news in Sanskrit on the radio. It did not happen in India because secularism has been made out to be such a huge issue. Even hearing Sanskrit will harm someone’s notion of secularism. The secularism in India is not so weak so as to be shaken up by some language.  Our values are as strong as writings on the stone.

 

“Sarve Sukhina Santu, Sarve santu Niramaya. Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Ma Kaschid Dukh Bhag Bahvet”

 

We are the ones who live with such great values. Our confidence should never be shaken. We should have a strong faith and believing on this faith itself I can say that 125 crore Indians or 1/6 th of the world population; if we seek its welfare, the welfare of the world will happen on its own.

 

 Let India move ahead with this same intention, efforts are on in that direction. I had the opportunity to meet you and I am very happy. My best wishes to you. Wherever you are, may you bring pride to India. I want to assure you that the colour of your passport might have changed, but it will never affect the strands of our relationship. You have that faith. India is always yours, it is for you and it is possible that due to the upcoming projects it may become something because of you.

My best wishes to you. Thank you!

                                                                        *****

AKT/AK/SH/HS