Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that in "new India, corruption, nepotism, dynasty, loot of people's money, and terrorism have been reined in like never before", in an indirect reference to the arrest of senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for alleged corruption.
Addressing the Indian diaspora at the UNESCO headquarters here, Modi said that his government was taking decisions in the spirit of "spasht niti, sahi disha (clear policy, right direction)".
"Reform, perform, and transform and with permanent systems, the country is moving forward to achieve its goal," he said.
Hitting out at the previous opposition-led governments over Article 370, he said it was ironical that the country had taken 70 years to eliminate the temporary provision that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
नए भारत में थकने और रुकने का सवाल ही पैदा नहीं होता। pic.twitter.com/XIePAyQaXS— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 23, 2019
"There is no scope for temporary in India. You would have seen how a country of 1.25 billion people, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, Ram, Krishna took 70 years to remove what was temporary. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this," the PM said, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron stated that Pakistan and India should resolve the Kashmir situation, and there was no place for third party interference.
Modi appreciated the role of the Indian community in France in strengthening bilateral ties. "Your contribution is integral to Indo-French ties. You are the representatives, the voice and the identity of India in France. I hope that you would continue to strengthen this voice here," he said.
My visit to France has been a successful one. We have discussed numerous issues, that would strengthen relations in existing sectors and enhance cooperation in newer areas. I thank the people and Government of France for their hospitality. pic.twitter.com/xizRWlrAGc— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 23, 2019
"Your achievements make us proud. Many Indians are members of the French Parliament. This fills us with pride. I am happy that you have adopted and learnt about the French laws and culture without letting go of your core Indian values," he added.
"Today I can say with confidence that the 130 crore Indians have begun their journey towards development. The mandate we have received is not just for running a government, but for building a New India'," he said.
"This is the reason that people have again given us a resounding mandate. This mandate is not just to run the government, but it is for building a new India. A new India of whose enriched culture, the world is proud of. A new India with a focus on ease of doing business and also ensures ease of living," Modi said, referring to the huge mandate his party got in the elections.
Powered by stellar teamwork, India has fulfilled ambitious goals deemed impossible for decades.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 23, 2019
At the same time, we have red-carded those obstacles adversely impacting our development trajectory. pic.twitter.com/ZHh1hKbL5V
"The 100-day milestone is yet to arrive. Mind you, the first 50-75 days are generally taken to plan things and get greetings and congratulatory calls, but we did not get into that," Modi asserted.
The Prime Minister also greeted the gathering on the occasion of Janmashtami and said he had heard that Ganesh Chaturthi was a prominent festival in Paris. "I have heard that Paris transforms into a mini India on the occasion. We will hear 'Ganpati Bappa' soon," he said.
He added that when he had visited France four years back, he had promised that the country will start its march towards development.\
"I do not belong to the community of Indians that forgets promises. I am the one who reminds people of the promises I made," he said.
"I have come to a nation of football lovers - a nation that very well understands the importance of goals. In the last five years, we have together set goals, which were considered impossible to fulfil," he said.
The PM also inaugurated a memorial there, that has been built to pay homage to the Indians who lost their lives in two Air India plane crashes -- in 1950 and other in 1966.
"I salute all those including the great Indian nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha who lost their lives in the Air India plane crashes in France's Saint Gervais," he said.
Modi also said that the friendship between India and France is unbreakable and the two nations have showed the strength on every stage.
Modi said India and France have a century-old friendship and asserted that he was dedicating "this day to friendship".
"The friendship between the two countries is not based on selfishness, it is based on liberty equality and fraternity," the Prime Minister said.
Modi is in France as part of his three nation five-day visit scheduled between August 22 and 26, which will also take him to the UAE and Bahrain.
India offers great opportunities for French companies. There is scope for immense cooperation in skill development, aviation, IT and space. The strides made in India-France defence cooperation are promising. Our nations are also working on maritime as well as cyber security. pic.twitter.com/7HoHSVlA2p— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 22, 2019
Ahead of his address, the Prime Minister through a video conferencing inaugurated a memorial in honour of the victims of two Air India crashes in France in the 1950s and 1960s.
To underline the close strategic partnership between India and France, Modi said a lot is being discussed about 'INFRA' which can be taken as 'In plus Fra'--the alliance of India and France.
"From solar infra to social infra, from technical infra to space infra, from digital infra to defence infra, the India-France alliance is moving forward strongly," he said.