Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Non-violence in DNA of Indian society: PM Narendra Modi

Modi at the inauguration of the Vivekananda Cultural Centre at the Indian embassy in Tokyo, Tuesday. (Source: PTI) Modi at the inauguration of the Vivekananda Cultural Centre at the Indian embassy in Tokyo, Tuesday. (Source: PTI)
Written by Shubhajit Roy | Tokyo | Posted: September 3, 2014 1:37 am | Updated: September 3, 2014 8:58 am

With India and Japan unable to seal the civil nuclear cooperation agreement so far, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday tried to assuage Tokyo’s concerns by saying that commitment to peace and non-violence is in the “DNA of Indian society”.

Responding to a question from a Japanese student at the Sacred Heart University here, Modi said that India was committed to peace, and that this commitment had “significance far above any international treaties or processes”.

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Responding to another question, Modi called for India and Japan to focus on shared values of “democracy, development, and peace”, saying this effort would be similar to lighting a lamp in the dark.

The PM also said that India was the land of Lord Buddha, who lived for peace, and spread the same message across the world.

“India won its freedom through non-violent means. For thousands of years, India has believed in the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the whole world is our family),” he said.

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He added, “When we consider the whole world as our family, how can we even think of doing anything that would harm or hurt anyone?”

The question was asked in the context of India recently ratifying the Additional Protocol on Safeguards Agreement signed with the IAEA, which will allow inspectors of the atomic watchdog to have easy access to India’s civil nuclear facilities.

Indian and Japanese interlocutors have been negotiating the civil nuclear agreement, but the non-proliferation concern is one of the major issues which prevented the deal from fructifying so far.

Day 4: From the sidelines

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Music man

A day after he entertained Japanese schoolchildren by playing the flute, PM Narendra Modi tried his hand at playing the Japanese drums — Taiko — on Tuesday. As he played the role of percussionist, Modi asked other drummers to play along, and they had a jugalbandi of sorts.

Call to action

While he did not elicit much of a response from students he met through the day, Modi made them smile when he talked about his Twitter friendship with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. While talking about climate change, he asked how many of the students were interested in the topic. Very few hands went up, but undeterred, Modi asked them to read his book, Convenient Action, which he compared to former US vice-president Al Gore’s book, Inconvenient Truth. Modi also said that his book was available online.

Jibe at AAP

Interacting with students, Modi said that different people have different ways of removing darkness. He said that some may use a “broom” and others may use a “sword”, but an intelligent person would just light a lamp. Some Indians in the audience quipped that by mentioning the “broom”, Modi was referring to how the Aam Aadmi Party failed to drive away darkness from Delhi.

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Ideal gift

Modi gifted the Bhagavad Gita to the Japanese emperor, and said that he did not have anything better to offer and the world does not have anything better to receive. He took a swipe at his detractors, saying that “secular friends will say that I am communalising this (the Bhagavad Gita) too”.

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