Dr Bharat Barai, a popular community leader and organiser of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ronald Reagan Center event in the US on June 14 (local day), said PM Modi is the most popular public figure, leader in the world, not just in India.
“PM Modi is the most popular public figure, leader in the world, not just in India. The Prime Minister is extremely popular. He’s perceived as a visionary leader for India who is working tirelessly for the growth of India,” Barai said. Dr Bharat Barai, while standing at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, said: “This is the Ronald Reagan Building. This is where we are going to have the Prime Minister’s programme. Right where you see downstairs, the atrium, the guests will be sitting, and right across from there, Prime Minister will address the diaspora.”
Dr Bharat Barai said earlier the plans were to host PM Modi at a giant stadium in Chicago, three stadiums were simultaneously booked for him to address 40,000 Indian Americans. But because of the scheduling and logistical hurdles, it could not be finalised. The Prime Minister finally gave his consent to address the community on the evening of June 23 at 6 PM soon after which he is going on an official visit to Cairo at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
“Because of the limitation of the capacity, we can only accommodate about 830 guests. So, my apologies to lots of people who wanted to come. But either we had a choice of not doing any programme or doing a programme for 838. And it’s because of the conflict in the scheduling that we could not do a larger programme.”
The event would be hosted by the US India Community Foundation. While talking about the topics PM Modi will be speaking on, Barai said: “We want the Prime Minister to tell us what the diaspora can do for the country. So, the topic that we have requested him to speak on is the role of the diaspora in the growth story of India, what can the diaspora do for the country, what the diaspora can do to improve the living standard of people of India, how we can help.”
Dr Bharat Barai said the Prime Minister taught the idea that every family should have a toilet and every family should have piped water, which has now happened to 80 per cent. And hopefully, in the next two years, 100 per cent of households will have tap water. He thought that every household in Gujarat should have electricity, which he did.
Dr Bharat Barai further said: “We had enough funds for the event within four days as people are donating because of Prime Minister. When they hear that there is going to be a program of PM Narendra Modi, they want to support the program. So there is a reasonable number of volunteer donors who have donated the funds, but more than 80 per cent of the people who will come as guests are coming for free: Dr Bharat Barai, Organizer of the event.”
Meanwhile, US Representative Richard McCormick on June 14 (local time) stressed on having ties between the United States (US) and India economically, militarily and strategically. He emphasised that lawmakers whether they are Democrats or Republicans need to pay more attention to India as a “future partner going forward”.
On reports of the US pushing a sign a big-arms drone deal during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “I think the more we link our countries together, both strategically, economically, militarily, the better. If you look at the threats in the region, if you look at India’s strategic location next to China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, with all the problems that we have in that part of the world right now, we need a strong partner, somebody that we can link ourselves to.”
Media reports suggest that the Biden administration is urging India to iron out bureaucratic hurdles and take forward a long-awaited deal for US-made armed drones ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Washington.
(with inputs from ANI)