Surat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for redrawing the Indian map after independence "to give us what it (country) is today".
"If we live in India with pride and our heads held high, it is because of him," Modi said after inaugurating a diamond manufacturing unit of Hare Krishna Exports, at Hazira, near Surat.
The prime minister, who arrived in Surat on Sunday evening, also saluted former prime minister Morarji Desai for strengthening the country's economy.
Desai, Modi said, would rejoice to see how the Indian economy was faring now.
"Years ago, this region gave us Morarji Desai, who focused his energies on strengthening the Indian economy. His soul must be celebrating today at the state of the economy," Modi said.
Morarji Desai, who headed the Janata Party government in 1977-79, hailed from south Gujarat.
Similarly, Modi said, Sardar Patel "re-drew the map of the country after independence to give us what it is today".
Referring to the diamond unit he inaugurated, Modi said the country was a leader in diamond polishing industry and it had the potential to be numero uno in the gems and jewellery sector.
"The artisan in India has the knack to develop jewellery according to the season and for every section of the society.
"We should concentrate on crafting jewellery not only according to what the consumer wants but also create material that attracts them to the new design," the prime minister added.
He also told diamond traders in Surat that he was going to global diamond cutting hub Israel in July on their behalf. Surat is a large diamond-trading hub and polishes 80 per cent of diamonds exported from the country, while Israel is a world player.
"I'm soon going to Israel... in fact, I'm the first prime minister to go to Israel, and I'm going there on your behalf. You have trading relations with that country," Modi said.
Earlier, he also inaugurated a hospital built by philanthropic diamond merchants of the city.
Updated Date: Apr 17, 2017 20:19:35 IST