PM Modi receives 16 standing ovations, autograph request from Speaker McCarthy

| Updated: 23 June, 2023 5:26 pm IST
PM Narendra Modi autographed joint session address booklet of Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy

WASHINGTON, DC: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made history on Thursday as he became the first Indian leader to address the joint session of the US Congress twice. His nearly hour-long speech captivated American lawmakers and resonated with the Indian-American community, prompting multiple standing ovations, applause, and chants of ‘Modi, Modi’.

But what is more captivating is the fact that PM Modi received 16 standing ovations, along with 79 rounds of applause, from the members of the Congress – clearly a sign of command he respects as well as the growing stature of India on the world stage. The icing on the cake, perhaps, was speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy asking for an autograph from PM Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was greeted with a standing ovation as he prepared to deliver his address to a joint Congressional session, invited by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.

PM Narendra Modi with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy

 

In his speech, PM Modi emphasised the enduring friendship between India and the United States, acknowledging the evolution over time while highlighting the unwavering commitment to strengthening bilateral ties.

Demonstrating his remarkable oratory skills, he drew parallels between the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the progress achieved by both America and India. His eloquent words resonated with the audience, resulting in another standing ovation and applause.

Prime Minister Modi’s compelling speech not only reaffirmed the deep-rooted relationship between the two nations but also showcased his ability to connect with people through thought-provoking analogies. The resounding applause and standing ovation testified to the appreciation of his unique phrasing and the underlying message of collaboration and progress in Indo-US relations.

“In the past few years, there have been many advances in AI – Artificial Intelligence. At the same time, there have been even more momentous developments in another AI – America and India,” PM Modi said.

Chants of Modi, Modi reverberated at the joint session of the US Congress

 

During his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the US Congress for its role in celebrating the strong relationship between India and the United States.

He particularly lauded Speaker Kevin McCarthy, acknowledging the challenges he faces, as PM Modi, as an Indian citizen, understands the trials of “passion, persuasion, and policy.” This recognition highlighted the shared experiences and commitment to democratic values between the two nations.

“I am delighted to see you come together today, to celebrate the bond between the world’s two great democracies – India and the United States. I am happy to help out whenever you need a strong bipartisan consensus. There will be, and there must be, a contest of ideas at home. But we must also come together as one when we speak for our nation. And, you have shown that you can do it. Congratulations!” PM Modi said, which was followed by applause and a standing ovation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the United States for its inclusive nature, welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds and incorporating them into the collective American dream. He specifically recognised Vice President Kamala Harris, highlighting her Indian roots.

“There are millions here, who have roots in India. Some of them sit proudly in this chamber. There is one behind me, who has made history!,” the Indian Prime Minister said.

During his address, PM Modi paid tribute to influential personalities from both India and the United States who have inspired their respective nations. His mention of Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and Congressman John Lewis garnered a standing ovation and appreciation from members of the US Congress.

“Over two centuries, we have inspired each other through the lives of great Americans and Indians. We pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior. We also remember many others who worked for liberty, equality, and justice. Today, I also wish to pay a heartfelt tribute to one of them – Congressman John Lewis,” PM Modi said.

In his hour-long address, Prime Minister Modi emphasised India’s political, cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity while underscoring the unity that prevails among its people.

“We have two thousand five hundred political parties. Yes, you heard that right- two thousand-five hundred. About twenty different parties govern various states of India. We have twenty-two official languages and thousands of dialects, and yet, we speak in one voice. Every hundred miles, our cuisine changes. From Dosa to Aloo Parantha and from Srikhand to Sandesh. We enjoy all of these. We are home to all faiths in the world, and we celebrate all of them. In India, diversity is a natural way of life,” PM remarked.

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During recent developments, India and the US signed notable defence deals, including an MoU between GE Aerospace and HAL for F414 jet engine production and an agreement for MQ9B reaper drone production for the Indian armed forces. PM Modi highlighted the transformative journey from initial cooperation to becoming significant defence partners.

“We were strangers in defence cooperation at the turn of the century. Now, the United States has become one of our most important defence partners,” PM Modi asserted.

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In his speech, Prime Minister Modi discussed the Ukraine War, noting its involvement of major powers and the grave consequences it brings. He highlighted the importance of the UN charter and respecting territorial integrity for maintaining the global order. PM Modi reiterated his notable statement, emphasising that it is not an era of war, garnering appreciation.

“The global order is based on respect for the principles of the UN Charter, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. As I have said directly and publicly, this is not an era of war. But, it is one of dialogue and diplomacy,” Modi said.

PM Modi got another standing ovation as he added, “And, we all must do what we can to stop the bloodshed and human suffering.”

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As PM Modi emphasised the growing concern over the stability of the Indo-Pacific region, he received another round of applause. He called for an Indo-Pacific that is free, open, and inclusive, garnering support from the audience.

“We share a vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific, connected by secure seas, defined by international law, free from domination, and anchored in ASEAN centrality. A region where all nations, small and large, are free and fearless in their choices, where progress is not suffocated by impossible burdens of debt, where connectivity is not leveraged for strategic purposes, where all nations are lifted by the high tide of shared prosperity,” PM Modi said.

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Prime Minister Modi, renowned for advocating on behalf of the Global South, expressed his support for the African Union’s bid for full membership in the G20 during his address on Thursday.

“Giving a voice to the Global South is the way forward. That is why I firmly believe that the African Union be given full membership in the G20,” Modi said.

PM Modi reiterated the importance of democracy as he said, “Together, we shall demonstrate that democracies matter and democracies deliver. I count on your continued support of the India-US partnership.”

 

PM Modi’s closing statements in his Thursday speech received resounding applause and a standing ovation. He invoked his 2016 statement about the momentous future of India and the United States, leaving the audience inspired and enthusiastic.

“When I was here in 2016, I said that ‘our relationship is primed for a momentous future’. That future is today,” he said.

As Prime Minister Modi wrapped up his historic speech, he received a final standing ovation. He expressed gratitude towards US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the members of Congress.

 

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