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From Herat to Mexico City: PM Narendra Modi's top quotes

Author: Shailaja Neelakantan
Publication: Brookings
Date: June 10, 2016
URL:   http://toi.in/mCWhfY/a18fg

Five countries, six days and many memorable quotes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

His cosmopolitan speechwriting team really pulled out all the stops for the PM's recent trip. The PM's quotes referenced a range of personalities from around the world, from Afghanistan's Rumi to Mexico's Octavio Paz. Modi subtly flattered all the countries he visited, citing from their history and culture, and, well, from their sports achievements, too. Here are some of his memorable quotes from the five countries he visisted:

*About the Harirud river: "And it is a wise Afghan proverb that says, Kabul be zar basha be barf ne: May Kabul be without gold rather than (without) snow. For the snow feeds the rivers that sustain life and agriculture."

*About the importance of the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam: "Today, the world will see the Harirud River as an abiding emblem of our commitment to a shared future of progress. And, the Friendship Dam unites us in solidarity as Chishti Sharif joined us in spirit centuries ago."

*About Herat: "Herat has time and again seen sublime glory and tragic ruin. And, the city that once Jalaluddin Rumi held as the finest will rise again."


*To Indians in Qatar, which is home to 600,000 people of Indian origin: "I came to Doha in the evening and the first programme on my schedule was to meet you all... When someone from your land, speaking your language comes, I am sure that would make you very happy."

*To Indian workers in Doha, Qatar: "Do work hard, but while doing so, please do focus on keeping your health and body fighting fit."


*On Switzerland's reputation: "I feel the weight of history, standing here with you in this truly international city-Geneva. And, not just international, but a city with a humanitarian soul. After all, it is home to the "Red Cross" and headquarters of several international organizations devoted to serving mankind."

*On relations between Switzerland-India: "There are many success stories of our relationship. One that has been making waves in the Grand Slams of the tennis world is the partnership of famous Swiss player Martina Hingis with Sania Mirza and Leander Paes of India."

United States

your bipartisanship. Well, you are not alone. Time and again, I have also witnessed a similar spirit in the Indian Parliament, especially our Upper House. So, as you can see, we have many shared practices."

*About the US-India relationship: "The orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments the baton has given the signal. And there is a new symphony in play."

*On smartphones, 'Siri' and yoga: "SIRI tells us that India's ancient heritage of Yoga has over 30 million practitioners in the U.S. And, we have not yet claimed intellectual property right on Yoga."

*On yoga, again, with some baseball thrown in: "It is estimated that more Americans bend for yoga than to throw a curve ball. And, no Mr. Speaker, we have not yet claimed intellectual property right on Yoga."


* On Mexico's hospitality "Although this is my first visit to your great country as the Prime Minister, I had experienced the richness of your culture during my travel in early nineties as a common India. "

* On Mexico's poet, writer and diplomat Octavio Paz: "Friends, in his book 'In Light of India', the great author Octavio Paz wrote, 'I can understand what it means to be Indian, because I am Mexican'. Of course, it is true the other way too! I believe we have succeeded today in strengthening this mutual understanding further.
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