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Modi’s story from poverty to PM reflects dynamism of India’s rise: Barack Obama

"PM Modi recognises that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world," Obama said.

By: Press Trust of India | New York |
Updated: April 16, 2015 10:04:05 pm
Narendra Modi, Barack Obama, Modi Time magazine, Obama Modi time magazine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama.

In a sign of warm personal friendship, US President Barack Obama has written a profile for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Time magazine as it named the Indian leader among the 100 most influential people in the world.

In the profile titled ‘India’s reformer-in-chief’, Obama has described Modi’s life story “from poverty to Prime Minister” as one that reflects the dynamism and potential of India’s rise.

“Today, he’s the leader of the world’s largest democracy, and his life story—from poverty to Prime Minister—reflects the dynamism and potential of India’s rise,” Obama said.

“Determined to help more Indians follow in his path, he’s laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change. “Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern—a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a ‘digital India’,” the US President wrote. Obama recalled Modi’s visit to Washington last year when both the leaders visited the memorial to Dr Martin Luther King Junior, an American civil rights activist.

“We reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in our countries is a strength we have to protect. Prime Minister Modi recognises that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” Obama said.

Apart from Modi, ICICI Chief Chanda Kochchar and Vikram Patel, co-founder of the NGO Sangath and the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have also been named to the annual list of the most influential people in the world “who are shaping the future.”

Obama is also named in the list that includes musicsuperstar Kanye West and his reality star wife kim Kardashian, Microsoft’s India-born CEO Satya Nadella, Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, actor Bradley Cooper, Harry Potter actress and women’s rights advocate Emma Watson, German chancellor Angela merkel, Pope Francis, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Co–chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank Anshu Jain said in a profile he wrote for Kochhar that the Indian banker has “shaped retail banking” in the country ever since she assumed her pivotal role in establishing ICICI Bank during the 1990s.

“Her calm, soft-spoken and understated demeanour belies her strength of conviction and clarity of thought. When Chanda speaks, people listen carefully,” Jain said.

Jain credited Kochchar for bringing to India’s largest private bank a global vision and impressive returns, while also reaching out to the nation’s masses with branches in remote villages where banks simply didn’t exist.

“I have yet to find anything Chanda can’t do. She’s a first-class leader, strategist and friend,” Jain said as he described Kochchar as an influential role model to young women in India.

“When young women turn to her for advice, she tells them to put aside their unconscious inhibitions, saying, ‘Don’t give up on something just because you think you can’t do it’,” Jain said.

He added that it is not possible to “miss” the “elegant” Kochhar whether it is at the World Economic Forum in Davos or a meeting of the board of directors of the Institute of International Finance.

Patel has been described by renowned psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen as a “gifted psychiatrist, a dedicated researcher, a successful author of books and academic papers, and he is an effective communicator”.

Time said its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world is “100 stories of individual influence. But taken together, these stories are an anthem to interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonise a good idea.”

Time’s political columnist Joe Klein said on Obama that the American President has made some of the most serious history of his presidency, producing a framework for a nuclear nonproliferation deal with Iran and starting the path to normalising relations with Cuba.

“A difficult world still loomed, and his presidency was far from perfect. But Barack Obama has proved that even after a lacerating defeat, the President of the United States is always, potentially, the most influential person in the world,” Klein said.

On Nadella, online file sharing service Box’s CEO Aaron Levie said the new Microsoft chief is setting the technology company “up for greatness again” and in a “short but impactful” tenure, has focused on driving openness where Microsoft was once closed.

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