WASHINGTON, JUNE 23: There can be ‘no ifs or buts’ in dealing with terrorism, says PM Modi in US Congress address
Terrorism is an enemy of humanity and there can be “no ifs or buts” in dealing with the scourge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said as he sought action against its state sponsors, in an oblique attack on Pakistan.
In his address to the joint meeting of the US Congress on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi said that more than two decades after 9/11 and over a decade after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, radicalism and terrorism still remain a pressing danger for the whole world.
“These ideologies keep taking new identities and forms, but their intentions are the same. Terrorism is an enemy of humanity and there can be no ifs or buts in dealing with it. We must overcome all such forces sponsoring and exporting terror”, Modi said in his 60-minute address in English.
In the India-US joint statement released after the talks between Prime Minister Modi and US President Joe Biden, the two countries expressed their resolve to fight terrorism and extremism.
“The United States and India stand together to counter global terrorism and unequivocally condemn terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations”, it said.
Prime Minister Modi and President Biden reiterated the call for concerted action against all UN-listed terrorist groups including al-Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizb-ul-Mujhahideen, the statement said.
“They strongly condemned cross-border terrorism, the use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks. They called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice”, it said.
They noted with concern the increasing global use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones and information and communication technologies for terrorist purposes and reaffirmed the importance of working together to combat such misuse.
In his address to the US Congress on Thursday, Modi also made a veiled reference to China, saying the global order is based on respect for the principles of the UN Charter, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Noting that the Ukraine conflict is causing great pain in the region, Modi said he has said directly and publicly, “This is not an era of war. But, one of dialogue and diplomacy.”
Representing 1.4 billion Indians, Modi said it is always a great honour to address the US Congress and an exceptional privilege to do so twice.
Modi became the first Indian leader to address the joint session of the US Congress twice on Thursday. He first addressed a joint meeting of the US Congress in 2016.
“Now, when our era is at a crossroads, I am here to speak about our calling for this century”, he said.
Modi said as there have been many advances in AI – Artificial Intelligence – in the past few years, at the same time, there have been even more momentous developments in other AI- America and India.
“We were strangers in the defence cooperation at the turn of the century. Now, the US has become one of our most important defence partners”, said Modi, who is currently on his maiden state visit.
His words received a standing ovation from US lawmakers.
Modi said democracy is one of their sacred and shared values.
“It has evolved over a long time, and taken various forms and systems. Throughout history, however, one thing has been clear. Democracy is the spirit that supports equality and dignity. Democracy is the idea that welcomes debate and discourse”, he said.
Democracy is the culture that gives wings to thought and expression, he said, adding that India is blessed to have had such values from times immemorial.
In the evolution of the democratic spirit, India is the “Mother of Democracy” he added.