Washington, June 8: Narendra Modi became the sixth Indian Prime Minister to address the lawmakers of United States at Capitol Hill. In his speech, Modi expressed gratitude towards the Congressional leadership of US to provide him the opportunity to speak in the House of Representatives. Sending out a stern message to those questioning the infringement of religious freedom in India, Modi said that his nation is committed to provide the freedom to choose and propagate any faith, irrespective of one’s background. Also Read - Wear Masks, Maintain Social Distancing: Modi in Message to Bengal For Durga Puja Festivities | Highlights
“Our founders created a modern nation with freedom, democracy, and equality as the essence of its soul. The soul of our democracy is our constitution. It provides freedom of faith, equality, dignity to everyone irrespective of their background,” Modi said. (ALSO READ: LIVE updates of Narendra Modi address at US Congress)
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Modi’s reiteration of India’s commitment to secularism comes at a time when a number of Senate members have raised apprehensions over religious freedom in India. At least 17 US lawmakers, including the influential senate members – Roy Blunt, Amy Klobuchar, James Lankford, Al Franken, Tim Scott, Ben Sasse, John Boozman and Steve Daines, had demanded Speaker Paul Ryan to ask Modi to explain the infringement of religious freedom and the rise of fascistic forces in his nation. However, their appeal has been sidelined by the Speaker.
The address at Capitol Hill is seen as one of the strategies of Modi to connect directly with the political class of host nations. In his visits to Afghanistan, Australia, Fiji, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Canada and Bhutan, the Indian Prime Minister addressed the Parliament of the respective nations to send out a strong geopolitical message.