India is now the bright hope to sustain Asia’s prosperity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in Singapore on Monday, even as he sought a global front against terrorism.
“Asia’s re-emergence is the greatest phenomenon of our era. From the darkness of the middle of the last century, Japan-led Asia’s rise. It then extended to Southeast Asia, (South) Korea and China,” Modi said at the 37th Singapore Lecture.
“And, India is now the bright hope for sustaining Asian dynamism and prosperity,” added Modi, who flew into the city state — which is half the size of Delhi — from Malaysia.
Talking about India’s relationship with Singapore, Modi said: “Singapore teaches us many things. The size of a nation is no barrier to the scale of its achievements.”
“And the lack of resources is no constraint for inspiration, imagination and innovation.”
With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong among those listening to the Indian leader, Modi underlined the importance of ties between India and Singapore.
“As India opened itself, Singapore became India’s springboard to the world and gateway to the East.”
“Today, Singapore is one of our most important partners in the world. It is a relationship that is as strategic as it is wide-ranging.”
Talking about his ‘Swachh Bharat’ or Clean India campaign, Modi said it was aimed at transforming the way Indians think, live and work.
He said India was investing in its people through skills and education.
“And we are creating opportunities by reforming our laws, regulations, policies, processes and institutions; by the way we govern ourselves; and the way we work with state governments.”
Modi said together with this software of change, it was building the hardware of progress like next generation infrastructure, revived manufacturing, improved agriculture, easier trade and smarter services.
The prime minister also urged the world to speak in one voice against terrorism.
“The world must speak in one voice and countries must be held accountable for (providing) sanctuaries and support.
“Terrorism does not just take toll of lives, but can derail economies.”
The Indian leader called for delinking religion from terrorism and “assert the human value that defines every faith”.
Organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISAS), the Singapore Lecture is one of the intellectual highlights of this city state.
India, Modi said, would lend its strength to keep the seas safe, secure and free for the benefit of all.
“Terrorism is one such major global challenge, and a force larger than individual groups. its shadow stretches across our societies and our nations, both in recruitment and choice of targets.
“The world must speak in one voice and act in unison. There will be political, legal, military and intelligence efforts. But, we must do more.
“Countries also must be held accountable for sanctuaries, support, arms and funds.
“Nations must cooperate more with each other. Societies must reach out within and to each other.”
Modi said Asia was a region of enormous promise. “But we know that enduring peace and prosperity are not inevitable. So, we must work hard to realize our vision of an Asian Century.
“Asia has the wisdom of its ancient cultures and all the great religions of the world. It also has the energy and drive of youth.”