Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s substantive address to the joint meeting of the US Congress on Wednesday hit all the right notes and drew thunderous applause from US lawmakers who appeared receptive to his message.
In a not-so-veiled reference to Pakistan, Modi said that while terrorism has spread across the world, it is "incubated in India’s neighborhood."
"Not just in Afghanistan, but elsewhere in South Asia, and globally, terrorism remains the biggest threat," said Modi. "In the territory stretching from west of India’s border to Africa, it may go by different names, from Lashkar-e-Taiba, to Taliban to ISIS."
"But its philosophy is common: of hate, murder and violence. Although its shadow is spreading across the world, it is incubated in India’s neighbourhood."
Modi urged the US Congress to send a clear message to those who "preach and practice" terrorism for political gains.
"Refusing to reward them is the first step towards holding them accountable for their actions," said Modi taking aim at generous US aid to Pakistan.
Members of the US House of Representatives recently threatened to block $450 million in aid to Islamabad unless it does more to fight the Haqqani network, which lawmakers see as a major threat to US forces in Afghanistan.
Modi said that the need of the hour was to isolate those who sponsor terrorists and not distinguish between "good" and "bad" terrorists as terrorism was not just a threat in Afghanistan but elsewhere in South Asia and globally.
Modi closed his remarks with an optimistic view of ties between India and the US, which he called an "indispensable partner."
"Today, our relationship has overcome the hesitations of history. Comfort, candour and convergence define our conversation through the cycle of elections and transitions of administrations the intensity of our engagement has only grown. And, in this exciting journey, the US Congress has acted as its compass," acknowledged Modi.
The Prime Minister said the two countries’ relationship is "primed for a momentous future. The complaints of the past are behind us, and the foundations of the future are firmly in place."