Politics

Indian Prime Minister Addresses Lawmakers In Joint Session Of Congress

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

India’s Prime Minster Narendra Modi called for the United States and India to strengthen their ties to fight terrorism and grow their economies while addressing a joint meeting of Congress Wednesday.

The speech was well received by both parties, with Democrats saying they were encouraged by Modi’s comments on the environment and Republicans praising his push to work together to fight terror.

“I thought it was wonderful, I enjoyed the speech very much – it was values based and he talked about practical solutions,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding she particularly enjoyed his comments on the environment.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said he thought it was an “optimistic, forward-looking speech,” and was impressed by the prime minister’s commitment to working on shared security interests.

“I think the two principal areas that both nations should expand cooperation on are commerce and security – there is enormous investment in both nations in each other, and I hope to see that continue and grow,” he told TheDCNF. “When it comes to security, India faces first hand the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, as does America, and our nations have worked together cooperatively in fighting jihadists. I was encouraged by the prime minister’s strong stated commitment to expand that cooperation.”

Modi highlighted the relationship between the countries, saying its been a mutually beneficial relationship that has led to increased prosperity on both ends.

“Ties of commerce and investment are flourishing – we trade more with the U.S. than with any other nation, and the flow of goods, services, and capital between us generates jobs in both of our societies,” he said, adding defense purchases have moved from nearly zero to $10 billion in less than 10 years.

The prime minister pointed out, while the relationship has prompted innovation and grown industries in both nations, new threats have emerged as a result – which the countries need to work together to combat.

He applauded the United States for its efforts to combat terrorism and bring peace to high-conflict areas like Afghanistan, adding that establishing stability in the country, and others like it, is a shared priority. He went on to stress the importance of deepening security cooperation between nations to prevent the continuous spread of terror throughout the world.

“In the territory stretching from west of India’s border to Africa, it may go by different names – from Lashkar-e-Taiba, to Taliban to ISIS – but its philosophy is common – of hate, murder and violence,” he said, adding both the U.S. and India have lost civilians and soldiers due to terrorism. “I commend the members of the U.S. Congress for sending a clear message to those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains – refusing to reward them is the first step towards holding them accountable for their actions.

The prime minister went on to commend the U.S. for its support of India’s push to start an international solar alliance to promote renewable energy.

“Mr. Speaker, as we deepen our partnership, there will be times where we will have differing perspectives, but since our interests and concerns converge, the autonomy if decision-making and diversity in our perspectives can only add values to our partnership,” he said. “So, as we embark on a new journey, and seek new goals, let us focus not just on matters routine, but also the transformation of ideas.”

Modi concluded his speech by saying the relationship between India and the U.S. has “momentous future” and believes the foundation of that relationship is solid and will continue to grow.

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