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Can’t allow China to dominate India,we need to take ourselves seriously: Modi

The immediate thing to do is take ourselves and our country seriously,said Modi.

Written by Johnson TA | Chennai |
October 19, 2013 12:37:49 am

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Friday said India needs to take itself seriously on the world stage in matters of foreign policy if it intends to be taken seriously by the world.

Delivering the 11th Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture at the Madras University’s Centenary Hall on the subject of ‘India and the World’,the Gujarat Chief Minister held forth on his views on foreign policy and stressed for a return to the foreign policy path laid down while Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM.

“The immediate thing to do is take ourselves and our country seriously. There is no seriousness at all at present,’’ Modi said during his talk held under a tight security blanket after the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK administration pulled out all stops to ensure the Chennai event went off without hitches.

“We cannot allow China to dominate India in foreign policy matters. We have been insensitive when we should have been sensitive. We remained weak when we needed to be strong,’’ Narendra Modi told a packed hall where a small section cheered every word that he spoke.

The Gujarat Chief Minister said tackling terrorism must also take centrestage in India’s foreign policy much like what the Vajpayee government did and managed to counter Pakistan’s efforts to bring the Kashmir issue to the centrestage.

“Terrorism needs a special mention. No country has suffered more than India. It is central to foreign policy as it is driven from abroad,’’ he said.

Modi also emphasised that modern warfare will be fought in the cyber world. “We need to have strong walls against it. Firewalls are not going to be enough. Walls made up of human hearts are going to be needed,’’ he said.

Modi in the course of his speech even made an almost farcical proposal for foreign policy to be handled by different states in the country. “We have 30 states,let each state be responsible for relations with one country. India is not just New Delhi. India is vast and powerful,’’ he said. “The time has come for foreign policy to be driven by people not politicians. It is a time to leverage our cultural strengths to drive foreign policy,’’ Modi said.

He also proposed creation of a group of nations that has access to abundant solar energy resources under India’s leadership on the lines of G8 and OPEC nations.

Modi took his usual dig at the Prime Minister saying it is useless to be a prime minister “who does not enjoy the support of the people or even his party’’. He also took a dig at Finance Minister P Chidambaram saying,“I don’t know why the people of Tamil Nadu sent him to Delhi.’’

Earlier,Modi released a copy of former Union minister and former Indian Express editor Arun Shourie’s new book ‘Self Deception: India’s China Policies’. Shourie who spoke on the occasion said 2014 is a very decisive year for India because as the nation gets preoccupied with its election it will also face great vulnerability on account of US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan leading to increased focus on India for Pakistan. Shourie said the emerging situation would need a new way of thinking based on new hope. “New thinking has to be the basis of policy,’’ he said adding: “When strength is there shackles will break,when Narendra Modi is in power there will be strength.’’

Shourie said the Chinese consider deception as statecraft and India needs to understand this. India needs governance to improve and needs strong leaders,he said.

The holding of the event at the Madras University campus with Modi in attendance had drawn protests and even a petition in the Madras High Court. The AIADMK administration,however,ensured that the event passed of smoothly.

Earlier,Modi addressed a BJP party workers’ meeting in Chennai after he was accorded a grand reception on arrival in the city.

‘Money in foreign banks more than 1,000 tonne of gold’

While addressing party workers,Gujarat CM Narendra Modi mocked the excavation being conducted by ASI in Unnao in UP. “The whole world is laughing at us over this bizarre exercise. Somebody dreamt and the government has launched an excavation…. The money hidden by thieves and looters of India in foreign banks is much more than 1,000 tonnes of gold. If you (government) bring back that money,you won’t have to do digging for gold (in Unnao),” Modi said.

PTI

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