Indians across the globe today live with their heads held high and the entire world looks at India with respect, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said while addressing the Indian community in Philippines where he is visiting to participate in the 31st ASEAN Summittoday
"If 21st century is considered to be Asia's century, then it becomes our duty to make it India's century and I say it is possible," PM Modi said in his address to the Indian community in Manila.
Lauding the measures taken by his government towards the nation's development, Modi said that his efforts are aimed at transforming India and making sure everything in India is up to world standards.
Speaking of the initiatives undertaken by the government, PM Modi said that ensuring the right identification of beneficiaries of subsidies had led to huge savings for the government. Linking Aadhaar to gas subsidies, he said citing one such example, had resulted in savings of upto Rs 57,000 crore every year.
"Subsidies were being given out to ghost beneficiaries who were never even born. We directed linking of these subsidies to Aadhaar and this resulted in savings for the government to the tune of Rs 57,000. And this wasn't one off. It was happening every year," he said.
In a dig at his critiques, the Prime Minister said that those who were pocketing money in the name of these subsidies earlier were today critical of him. "Those whose incomes have been stopped through initiatives taken by this government won't come to click pictures with me, will they?" he asked, much to the amusement of the crowd present there.
The Prime Minister also made note of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan and said that over two lakh villages in India have become open defecation free. "Which citizen doesn't want cleanliness? We have started from where Mahatma Gandhi left and till now more than 2 lakh villages in India have become open defecation free."
Speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit earlier, Prime Minister Modi said that the task of transforming India is proceeding at an unprecedented rate.
"Task of transforming India is proceeding at an unprecedented scale. We are working day and night towards easy, effective and transparent governance," said PM Modi.
"Keeping emphasis on 'minimum government, maximum governance', about 1200 outdated laws have been repealed in the last three years," he added.
Hailing the Jan Dhan Yojna, PM Modi said, "Large sections of India did not have access to banking services. The Jan Dhan Yojana changed that in a matter of months and transformed lives of millions."
Earlier today, PM Modi held bilateral talks with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit. During the talks, PM Modi highlighted the importance of US-India relationship and said relations between the two countries are growing and that both countries are "working for future interests of Asia and humanity."
“Relations between India and US are growing. Our relations go beyond, we are working for future interests of Asia and humanity,” Prime Minister Modi said during his bilateral meeting with the US President.
Modi earlier attended the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit here. He was joined by host and Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, US President Donald Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among others.
ASEAN Summit: PM Narendra Modi holds bilateral talks with US President Donald Trump in Manila, Philippines pic.twitter.com/BSGjLhpLI1— ANI (@ANI) November 13, 2017
"PM @narendramodi welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte as he arrives to participate in the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar wrote on Twitter, along with Modi's picture with Duterte and his wife.
At the opening gala in Manila, artists performed a musical version of Ramayana.
"Inspired by our Epics. The ballet company Rama Hari presents musical version of #Ramayana, an epic narrative that is a shared heritage among the ASEAN member states," Raveesh Kumar wrote on Twitter.
Ahead of the summits, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Duterte and Trump. Modi met Trump briefly on Sunday as they arrived for the event.
Earlier on Sunday, Modi interacted with world leaders at a gala dinner reception hosted by Duterte ahead of this year's India- ASEAN and East Asia Summits.
Later, PM Modi and Trump also posed for a family photograph with others leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, participating in the event.
Modi was also seen chit-chatting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the reception for the leaders who have arrived here for the 31st ASEAN summit and related meetings.
He also held brief interactions with several other leaders who attended the reception hosted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the mega SMX Convention Centre in Pasay City here.
The prime minister as well as all other leaders wore Barong Tagalong, an embroidered shirt which is the national dress of the Philippines. Renowned Filipino designer Albert Andrada has designed the shirts.
Modi also tweeted pictures of his interaction with several leaders.
Modi would also speak at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and attend an Indian community reception to be hosted by the Ambassador of India to the Philippines.
This year marks the 25th year of the India- ASEAN dialogue partnership and the golden jubilee of the formation of the ASEAN regional bloc.
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
(With PTI inputs)