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SA transformed Mohandas into Mahatma: PM Modi in Johannesburg

India is working to achieve over 8 per cent growth in the coming years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Johannesburg on Friday, while attributing the rise of the country to HOPE — Harmony, Optimism, Potential and Energy.

He told the Indian diaspora here that India is "one of the brightest spot in the global economy" and a "land of opportunities" for those who want to invest and have trade.

Modi said his government is working in a campaign mode to create 500 million new jobs by 2022 besides transforming rural and urban areas of the country through infrastructure development.

"While the world is marked by slowdown, India has registered a growth of 7.6 per cent this year and we are working to grow even at 8 per cent in the years ahead," he said addressing an estimated gathering of 11,000 members of the Indian diaspora.

Modi, wearing a 'Madiba' shirt identified with anti- apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, said India's dynamism is not about mere words but it is driven by concrete action.

"It (dynamism) is defined by our commitment to change the face of the Indian economy. Not just through sustained rapid economic growth but through multiple transformations that aim to uplift," the Prime Minister said.

"India's rise can be defined as HOPE — Harmony, Optimism, Potential and Energy....India's rise is a story of rare resilience, renewed resurgence, superb speed and spectacular scale," he said in his 40-minute address.

He said his government wants enterprises to flourish, businesses to grow and the country to rise. "For this, we are already shaping a policy framework that strengthens India's ability to build trade, manufacturing, innovation and investment partnerships with other countries in the world," he added.

Modi said his intent was to ensure that the 800 million youth of India should fulfill the dreams, not only of India but the global demand.

"It is not only the economy or society that is racing ahead but the mindsets are also changing," he said while giving an overview to the audience about the developments in India which he wanted them to see for themselves.

Seeking to strike a chord, Modi said as South Africa works for its economic prosperity, safety and security, it will find in India a "trusted and reliable partner".

A file photo of PM Modi and Zuma. Photo credit: Twitter @MEAIndia

A file photo of PM Modi and President Jacob Zuma. Photo credit: Twitter @MEAIndia

He said both India and South Africa face similar challenges and India is ready to join this country in its endavours.

"India and South Africa are strategic partners. We should build a partnership that spans entirety of human endeavour," the Prime Minister said.

He said while terrorism is a global challenge, fight against diseases like AIDS and Ebola are some of the other priorities.

The Prime Minister noted that South Africa was the place where Mahatma Gandhi "conceptualised his politics" and is the "birthplace of Satyagraha".

Describing South Africa as "karambhoomi (land of work)" of Mahatma Gandhi, he said this country "transformed Mohandas into Mahatma".

He said Mahatma Gandhi held South Africa dearly as he believed that he had got rebirth in this land.

Hailing the Indian diaspora in South Africa as "proud sons and daughters of Indian heritage", he said several Indians had gone to jail with Mandela and sacrificed their lives in the fight against apartheid.

Modi said while India was in the lead in opposing apartheid and had boycotted South Africa during those days, it was the first to embrace the country after apartheid was over. In this context, he noted that India had hosted the South African cricket team a few months after apartheid was lifted on 10 July, 1991.

On Friday night he left Johannesburg for Durban for the second day of his engagements in South Africa.

"An important first day in South Africa ends as PM @narendramodi departs Jo'burg for Durban," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Durban is home to 800,000 of the 1.2 million people of Indian origin in South Africa, making it the city with the largest Indian population outside of India.

On Saturday, Modi will undertake a train journey to Pietermaritzburg station in memory of the 1893 incident in which Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment on account of his skin colour.

Following this, he will visit Gandhi's Phoenix Settlement.

He will also attend a meeting of the Alumni Network and a reception in his honour to to be hosted by the Mayor of Durban and the Indian High Commissioner to South Africa before leaving for Tanzania on Saturday evening on the third leg of his four-nation African tour.

India and South Africa signed four agreements on Friday following delegation level talks headed by Modi and South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria.

He also addressed a Indian diaspora rally in Johannesburg prior to his departure for Durban.

Modi arrived in South Africa from Mozambique on Thursday night on the second leg of his African sojourn.

This is his first visit to mainland Africa and is also the first prime ministerial visit from India to South Africa since then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in 2013 for the G20 summit in Durban.

Apart from Mozambique South Africa and Tanzania, Modi will also visit Kenya.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 09, 2016 09:00 AM

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