Motera Stadium Ahmedabad, India February 24 1:55 P.M. IST
Namaste! Namaste. (Applause.) And hello to India. This is such a great honor. Let me begin by expressing my profound gratitude to an exceptional leader, a great champion of India, a man who works night and day for his country, and a man I am proud to call my true friend: Prime Minister Modi. (Applause.)
The First Lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people. (Applause.)
Five months ago, the United States welcomed your great Prime Minister at a giant football stadium in Texas, and today, India welcomes us at the world's largest cricket stadium right here in Ahmedabad. (Applause.) It is a profound honor to be the beautiful new stadium, to be here with you - Motera Stadium. So beautiful. (Applause.) And joined by so many distinguished guests from all across your nation and all across the world.
To the hundreds of thousands of everyday citizens who have come out and lined the streets in a stunning display of Indian culture and kindness, and to the 125,000 people in this great stadium today - (applause) - thank you for the spectacular welcome to your magnificent country.
You have done a great honor to the American people. Melania and my family, we will always remember this remarkable hospitality. We will remember it forever. (Applause.) From this day on, India will always hold a very special place in our hearts. (Applause.)
The life of Prime Minister Modi underscores the limitless promise of this great nation. He started out by his father's side as a chai wala - (applause) - a tea-seller. When he was a young man, he worked at a cafeteria in this city.
Modi! Modi! Modi!
Stand up. (Applause.) Everybody loves him, but I will tell you this: He's very tough. (Laughs.) (Applause.)
Today, Prime Minister Modi is the tremendously successful leader of this vast Indian Republic. Last year, more than 600 million people went to the polls and gave him a landslide victory like no other in the largest democratic election ever held anywhere on the face of the Earth. (Applause.)
Prime Minister Modi, you are not just the pride of Gujarat - you are living proof that with hard work and devotion, Indians can accomplish anything - (applause) - anything at all, anything they want. (Applause.)
The Prime Minister has a moving story of an incredible rise, and so does this entire nation. Your nation is doing so well. We are very, very proud of India. (Applause.) The story of the Indian nation is a tale of astounding progress, a miracle of democracy, extraordinary diversity, and above all, a strong and noble people. India gives hope to all of humanity.
In just 70 years, India has become an economic giant, the largest democracy ever to exist, and one of the most amazing nations anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
Since the turn of the century, India's economy has grown more than six times in size. In a single decade, India has lifted over 270 million people out of poverty.
Under Prime Minister Modi, for the first time in history, every village in India now has access to electricity. (Applause.) Three hundred and twenty million people - more Indians - are right now connected to the Internet. (Applause.) The pace of highway construction has more than doubled. Over 70 million more households - think of this - 70 million more households have access to cooking fuel; 600 million more people have access to basic sanitation; and, incredibly, 12 Indian citizens are lifted out of extreme poverty every single minute of every single day. (Applause.)
India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world. And within less than 10 years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear. (Applause.) The potential for India is absolutely incredible.
India's rise as a prosperous and independent nation is an example to every nation all over the world and one of the most outstanding achievements of our century. It is all the more inspiring because you have done it as a democratic country, you have done it as a peaceful country, you have done it as a tolerant country, and you have done it as a great free country. (Applause.)
There is all the difference in the world between a nation that seeks power through coercion, intimidation, and aggression, and a nation that rises by setting its people free and unleashing them to chase their dreams. And that is India. (Applause.) This is why India's accomplishment over the last 70 years is completely unrivaled no matter where you go.
It is your faith in the strength of a free society, your confidence in your own people, your trust in your own citizens, and your respect for the dignity of every person that makes the United States and India such a natural, beautiful, enduring friendship. (Applause.)
While our nations have many differences, they are both defined and propelled by a fundamental truth: the truth that all of us are blessed with divine light, and every person is endowed with a sacred soul.
As the great religious teacher, Swami Vivekananda, once said - (applause) - "The moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in Him, that moment I am free." (Applause.)
In America and in India, we know that we are all born for a higher purpose: to reach toward our fullest potential, to work toward excellence and perfection, and to give all glory to God.
Powered by this spirit, Indians and Americans are always striving to be greater, our people are always seeking to be better, and so our nations have become thriving centers of culture and commerce and civilization, giving light and vitality to all of the world.
This is the country that produces nearly 2,000 movies a year from the hub of genius and creativity known as Bollywood! (Applause.) All over the planet, people take great joy in scenes of Bhangra music, dance, romance and drama, and classic Indian films like DDLJ and Sholay. (Applause.)
This is the country where your people cheer on some of the world's greatest cricket players - from Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli. (Applause.) The greatest in the world.
This is the country that built the tallest statue on the face of the Earth to honor the namesake of this stadium, the great Indian patriot and native of this state, Sardar Patel. (Applause.)
India is the country where hundreds of millions of - light candles to celebrate the triumph of good over evil at Diwali. (Applause.) And it's where, just days from now, Indians of all faiths will pour out onto the streets to celebrate the beautiful festival of Holi. (Applause.)
India is a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law, and the dignity of every human being.
Your nation has always been admired around the Earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews worship side by side in harmony; where you speak more than 100 languages and come from more than two dozen states, yet you have always stood strong as one great Indian nation. (Applause.) Your unity is an inspiration to the world.
In America, we have come to know the splendor of Indian culture personally, through the 4 million Indian Americans living in the United States as our wonderful friends, colleagues, and neighbors. They are truly spectacular people. (Applause.)
Indian Americans enrich every aspect of our national life. They are titans of business; the biggest, the best pioneers of science; masters of the art; and innovation of technology like few people have been able to see no matter where you go anywhere in this universe.
Nearly one in four Indian Americans trace their roots right here in Gujarat. (Applause.) Gujarat is a special place.
So on behalf of the entire American people, thank you and thank you all for the contributions your culture and traditions have made to my beloved country. (Applause.)
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