Food security and trade facilitation must go together: Modi tells US

30 September 2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear yesterday that while India is not against a trade facilitation agreement, the welfare of the large number of poor people in India must be taken into account, and therefore, agreements on trade facilitation and food security must be secured together.

Addressing an interactive session of the US Senate's Council on Foreign Relations in New York City yesterday, the prime minister said poverty and terrorism are the two extreme threats that the world faces today, adding that the two must be dealt with equal vigour.

Modi said terrorism is an enemy of humanity and therefore all humanitarian forces across the world must unite to fight terrorism. India, he said is a victim of "exported" terrorism, and that there is no homegrown terrorism in the country. He said as far as India is concerned, its symbols are Buddha and Gandhi.

The prime minister said that the United States should troop withdrawal from Afghanistan should be a gradual so as to enable Afghan security adequate time to secure the country against the Taliban, and thus avoid the mistake in Iraq.

He said, India and the United States have a partnership based on shared values of democracy and openness.

On India's border issues with China, Modi said the two nations have enough maturity and the capability to resolve the boundary question and there was no need for arbitration in the matter.

In reply to a question on non-alignment and India's foreign policy, the prime minister said non-alignment did not mean non-cooperation. In the 21st century, the world is more interdependent and hence all countries have a stake in each other's welfare, he said.

The prime minister said people in India had voted for good governance and development in the recent general elections, and there was an atmosphere of confidence. He said the government was working to reduce red-tape and facilitate investment.

In reply to a question, he said electricity was now a necessity and his government was committed to providing 24x7 electricity to people. He said development and environment were not adversaries, and a balance could be achieved. He also spoke about the government's initiatives on clean energy.

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