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Text of PM’s address on the Inauguration of Afghanistan - India Friendship Dam in Herat


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Text of PM’s address on the Inauguration of Afghanistan - India Friendship Dam in Herat (June 4, 2016)


I am delighted to return to Afghanistan; Honoured to be among people who have set the standard of courage for our age; Privileged to see again the high tide of friendship in this vast ocean of love for India. This is yet another giant step in Afghanistan’s march to progress. And, it is a historic moment of emotion and pride in the relations between Afghanistan and India.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your invitation and for naming this dam as Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam. We are truly humbled by the generosity of the Afghan spirit. Rivers have been bearers of great civilisations of the world. In the flow of rivers runs the course of human progress. In the Holy Quran, river is central to the image of Paradise. In the ancient scriptures of India, rivers defined our nation and were celebrated as the giver of life. And, it is a wise Afghan proverb that says, Kabul be zar basha be barf ne: May Kabul be without gold rather than snow. For the snow feeds the rivers that sustain life and agriculture. So, today, we are not just launching a project that will irrigate land and light up homes. We are reviving a region, restoring hope, renewing life and redefining Afghanistan’s future. The dam is a generator not just of electricity but also of optimism and belief in the future of Afghanistan.

The project would not just irrigate the fields of six hundred and forty villages in Chiste, Obe, Pashtun Zarghun, Karokh, Gozara, Injil, Zindjan, Kohsan and Ghoryan . It would also bring light to over two hundred and fifty thousand homes in this area. Last December, in Kabul, I was moved by the honour of inaugurating the Afghan Parliament Building. It was a tribute to the epic struggle of the Afghan people to shape their future by vote and debate, not gun and violence.On this summer day, in Herat, we come together to honour and celebrate Afghan determination to build a future of prosperity.Afghans and Indians dreamt of this project in the nineteen seventies. The lost decades speak to us about the ravages of a long drawn war. It was a war not of Afghan making, but it was one that stole the future of an entire generation of Afghans. And, when a new dawn broke over Afghanistan in 2001, we resumed the project.

With resolve and patience, courage and belief, we have together overcome distance and hurdles, threats and violence.Today, the brave Afghan people are sending a message that the forces of destruction and death, denial and domination, shall not prevail. They will not come in the way of the dreams and aspirations of the Afghan people. The fields that produce the finest fruits and saffron shall once again come alive with the clear waters of the river. The homes that lived through dark nights of dread will now be lit by the power of hope. Men and women shall once again work the farms and ply their trade with the joy of hard work, in peace and security.The shoulders that were once weighed down in the shadow of guns would now bear ploughs to turn the land green. Children shall again believe in the possibility of a future of education and opportunity.

And, another young girl poet will not have to live a life of pain, denial and longing, or see a life of promise cut short. Herat has time and again seen sublime glory and tragic ruin. And, the city that once Jalaluddin Rumi held as the finest, will rise again. The city that was the gateway to the West, South and Central Asia,will once again be the hub that will unite the regions in a peaceful pursuit of prosperity. So, to the people and Government of Herat and the Government of Afghanistan, I express our deepest appreciation for your support, patience and understanding – and, above all, your belief in us.

This dam has not been built by bricks and mortar, but by the faith of our friendship and the valour of Afghans and Indians. And, at this moment of pride, we also stand in grief and gratitude for lives sacrificed so that Afghan people will have a future they so richly deserve and so deeply desire. The blood, sweat and tears of our people are mixed into this earth and have formed between us an eternal bond, written into the soil of this land. Bonds that remind us of ancient links between this region and India. For many, the Harirud River is one strand of our connected histories since the ancient Vedic times. Today, the world will see the Harirud River as an abiding emblem of our commitment to a shared future of progress. And, the Friendship Dam unites us in solidarity as Chishti Sharif joined us in spirit centuries ago.

For, it is from here that the Chishti Silsila or Chishti tradition of Sufism came to India. Its glorious tradition and teachings resonate through the dargahs of Ajmer, Delhi and Fatehpur Sikri. It draws people from all faiths with its message of love, peace, compassion; of harmony among people of all beliefs; of respect for all of God’s creations; and service to humanity. Indians and Afghans know that these values, not extremism and violence, define Afghanistan - a nation brimming with poetry of love and spiritual tradition of peace and harmony. And, these are the values that give the great Afghan people the patience and persistence to seek peace with their own who have chosen the path of violence and also with those who support them.

Afghans have pursued this path, despite the strength of their belief that they can defend their freedom like no other people on this earth. And, it is on the foundation of these values that Afghans and Indians seek each other, not because they harbour designs against another. Khwaja Moiunuddin Chishti, the first of the Chishti saints in India, said that human beings must have the affection of the sun, the generosity of the river and the hospitality of the earth. He not only had the magnificent landscape of his ancestral land in mind, he could also be describing the Afghan people.So, when I came to Kabul in December, in the warmth of your welcome, I saw the kindness of your heart. In your clear eyes, I saw the deep well of affection for India. In your smiles, I saw the joy of this relationship. In the firmness of your embrace, I felt the trust in our friendship. And, in those memorable hours, India witnessed once again the grace of your people, the beauty of this land and the friendship of a nation. Today, I return with the gratitude and admiration of 1.25 billion people. And, a renewed pledge for our partnership.

Together, our partnership has built schools, health centres and irrigation facilities for rural communities. It has empowered women with skills and the youth with the education to shoulder the responsibility for Afghanistan’s future. We have joined hands to build roads that bridge the distances of your country, from Zaranj to Delaram, and transmission lines that bring power to your homes. Now, India’s investment in the port at Chahbahar in Iran will give Afghanistan a new route to the world and a new path to prosperity.

And, to implement that vision,just last month, President Ghani joined President Rouhani of Iran and me in witnessing the signing of the Chahbahar Trade and Transit Agreement between Afghanistan, Iran and India.

The fruits of our friendship are not confined to Kabul, Kandahar , Mazar and Herat. They will never be. Our cooperation will extend to every part of Afghanistan. Our partnership will benefit every section of Afghan society. Because across its difficult geography, and across its diversity, and beyond the identities as Pushtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras, Afghanistan must live and prosper as one. For, divisions among Afghan people will only help those who seek to dominate the nation from outside. As we work together, we draw strength and confidence from your deep commitment to protect our partnership from the designs of others.

When our people are under attack, the brave Afghans guard us as their own. They put themselves in the line of fire so that their Indian friends are safe. This is the nobility of your heart and the strength of your friendship. I have seen this from the moment I assumed office as Prime Minister. For on that day, when terrorists launched a massive attack on our Consulate in this city of Herat, the heroic efforts of Afghan soldiers, and of our personnel, saved many lives and prevented a big tragedy.

Mr. President, Friends,

Afghanistan’s success is a deeply held hope and desire of every Indian. It comes from the love and admiration for Afghans in our hearts. We want to see your democracy strike deep roots; your people unite; and, your economy prosper. We want to see your art, culture and poetry thrive. And, we want to see your cricketers join the ranks of test players and also seek glory in IPL.

But, it also comes from the recognition that when Afghanistan succeeds, the world will be safer and more beautiful. When the values that define Afghans prevail, terrorism and extremism will be in retreat.

Because we know that extremism and terrorism cannot stop at your border or end at the boundaries of our region.

So, in the spreading unrest of our times, the world cannot forget the brave struggle that the Afghan people are waging - for themselves and our world. India will not forget or turn away.

As I said then, and I will say it again, your friendship is our honour; your dreams are our duty. India’s capacity may be limited, but our commitment is without limits. Our resources may be modest, but our will is boundless. For others, their commitments may have a sunset clause, but our relationship is timeless. We face barriers of geography and politics, but we define our path from the clarity of our purpose. We see resistance and suspicion of others, but our resolve is strong and your faith and trust guides us forward.

Where some doubt your future, we are certain that no force or power can deny the Afghan people the destiny they have chosen, however long and hard the journey may be. So, on international platforms and in regional forums, we will speak in one voice for the Afghan right to a peaceful, prosperous, united, inclusive and democratic nation. And, in the fields, villages and cities of Afghanistan, we will work together for that future.

And, whatever happens, in a bright or a dark moment, we will always experience, as Herat’s great Sufi Poet, Hakim Jami, would say, the freshness and happiness of the gentle breeze of friendship.

Thank you for this honour, this affection and this friendship.

Thank you. 

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India-Mexico Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister to Mexico (June 08, 2016)
1.At the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the United Mexican States, His Excellency Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India paid a working visit to Mexico on 8th June 2016, with the objective to continue the dialogue held by the two leaders on the margins of the 70thregular session of the United Nations General Assembly on 28th September 2015.
2.The leaders recognized the opportunities to define the path of the India-Mexico Privileged Partnership for the 21st Century that allows the growth of bilateral relations in economic field, in science and technology and in the most important issues of the global agenda reflecting a broad convergence of long-term political, economic and strategic goals.
3.President Enrique Peña Nieto elaborated on the structural reforms undertaken in Mexico to promote economic growth and development. On his part, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi highlighted the initiatives undertaken by his Government for the economic growth and the improvement of standard of living of the people.
In this context, both leaders:
Political Dialogue
4.Instructed the Foreign Ministers of both countries to develop the roadmap of the Privileged Partnership suitable for the 21stCentury, in the framework of the Seventh Mexico-India Joint Commission Meeting to be held in Mexico in 2016.

5.Look forward to the results of the Sixth Meeting of the Joint Committee on Science and Technology, and the Fourth Meeting of the High Level Group on Trade, Investment and Cooperation, which will be held in Mexico during the second half of 2016.
6.The two countries will update the bases of cooperation according to a convergent and comprehensive plan, will evaluate the progress made in diverse fields and will set new objectives and themes to strengthen the agenda of bilateral relations.
7.Had a detailed exchange of views on the regional issues of mutual interest, including the political and economic developments in Latin America, the CELAC and the Pacific Alliance, as well as the current situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Economic Partnership
8.Underscored the increasing importance of diversifying the economic exchanges to promote trade and investment to a level corresponding to their true potential.
9.Stressed the necessity of developing a greater connectivity between the two countries and encouraging cooperation in the infrastructure sector, among small and medium enterprises, in pharmaceutical products, in energy, in the automobile sector, in Information and Communication Technology, in agriculture, in food processing and in other related sectors.
10.Noted with satisfaction the growing interest for investment of the Indian companies in the energy sector - attracted by the structural reforms carried out in Mexico, as well as the opportunities for Mexican companies in the Indian market.
11.Agreed that cooperation is key to promote the investment and the use of solar energy. The two sides agreed to explore ways and means to boost the objectives of the International Solar Alliance.
12.Stressed the importance of promoting increased exchanges between the peoples of the two countries for better understanding and strengthening of bilateral links in the areas of culture, education and tourism.
Bilateral Cooperation
13.Exchanged points of views and welcomed the opportunities offered by the convergence between the National Digital Strategy of Mexico and the Digital India Initiative, which share common objectives.
14.Welcomed collaboration in space science, earth observation, climate and environmental studies, and the efficient use of space-related resources available in India as well as in Mexico for remote sensing, advance warning for disaster prevention and launch of satellites between the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
15.Considering that both countries have huge diaspora communities abroad, the Leaders agreed on exchanging views, information and share best practices with respect to the participation of networks, organizations and individuals in their diasporas in the development of communities of their origin and their residence, as well as for the welfare and protection of their respective nationals in foreign countries.
Dialogue on Global Affairs
16.Pledged to continue promoting the shared goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as solutions with multilateral perspective, as well as to continue promoting cooperation on international security issues.
17.Reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
18.Reaffirmed the importance to have an effectivemultilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, and agreed on the importance of continuing supporting the progress in the process of comprehensive reforms of the United Nations Security Council.
19.Noted productive and substantive cooperation in the context of their participation in G-20.
20.Welcomed with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the Climate Change Conference held in Paris in December 2015 and applauded the signing by both countries of the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016. They committed to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible, as well as to develop new and renewable sources of energy to meet the developmental challenges of their respective countries.
21.President Enrique Peña Nieto cordially invited the Indian Prime Minister to visit Mexico again on a State visit in the near future. Similarly, Prime Minister Modi invited President Peña Nieto to pay a State visit to India. They agreed that suitable dates would be worked out through diplomatic channels.

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First Meeting of Governing Council of National Skill Development Mission held under Chairmanship of PM


The first meeting of the Governing Council of the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) was held under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi on 2 June 2016.

In his remarks at the meeting, the Prime Minister stressed on the need for proper skill mapping and identification of the future requirements for skills, so that school-children and parents are well aware of the emerging trends in the job market. Further, he said a similar exercise should also be done to map the skilled manpower requirements at the global level, so that India can meet the global requirement of skilled workforce.

The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of imbibing safety norms and soft skills as integral parts of skill development.

The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir; Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Human Resource Development; Shri Kalraj Mishra, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communication and Information Technology. Senior bureaucrats, and corporate leaders, including, Shri Cyrus P. Mistry, Chairman, Tata Group; Shri Sachin Bansal, Founder and CEO Flipkart’ and Shri Manish Sabharwal, Chairman and Founder, Team Lease Services also participated in the Governing Council meeting.

Some of the major decisions taken at the meeting included the following:

· Skill training to be scaled up to cover at least 1.5 crore people during 2016-2017.

· The Central Board for Skills Certification to be set up by September 2016 to infuse quality into India’s skill development ecosystem.

· Unutilized infrastructure in existing engineering colleges to be leveraged for skill training courses.

· Profit making Public Sector Units (PSUs) will be mandated to scale up apprenticeships, upto 10% of total manpower, over the course of this year. Private corporations are also expected to follow suit.

· 500 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras, which will provide skill training free of cost to be opened this year, to impart training to India’s aspiring youth.

· 50 Overseas Employment Skill Training Centres to be opened this year, in migratory pockets of the country.

· 500 Rozgar Utsavs will be held across Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Central Training Institutes, PMKVY training centres, toolrooms etc., to make skill training aspirational amongst youth.

· A national skills competition, known as ‘India Skills’ will be launched during 2016-2017, to recognize the skills of India’s youth. This will be an annual event.

· This year, a national level Convocation will be held for candidates who successfully complete ITI courses, to recognize their success.

· Over the next one year, the capacity of ITIs to be further enhanced from 18.5 lakhs to 25 lakhs and over 5000 new ITIs will be created.

· Traditional skills will be recognized, nurtured and promoted through informal apprenticeships, under various programmes.

Background

65% of Indians are under the age of 35. By 2025, almost 1 in 5 of the world’s working age population (18.3%) will be Indian. In order to leverage India’s demographic dividend and prioritise skill development, a dedicated new Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) was set up, for the very first time, by the newly elected NDA government in November 2014 to steer and coordinate skill development efforts. Skill India is anchored within this new Ministry.

MSDE inherited a highly fragmented ecosystem. 21 Central Government Ministries and departments were implementing over 50 skill training programmes, operating in silos. Conflicting norms between schemes, poor monitoring mechanisms, varying assessment and certification systems and the absence of a coherent vision of success, limited the effectiveness of these initiatives. While there were previous attempts to consolidate this ecosystem through centralised organisations such as the National Skill Development Coordination Board or the Prime Minister’s National Council of Skill Development, 2008 - the fact that multiple bodies existed under different organisations and the lack of focus on execution, made these institutions ineffective.

MSDE has made great strides in a relatively short span of time. Within just six months, key organizations in the skill training and entrepreneurship ecosystem were brought under the Ministry. In just 8 months, MSDE created a National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, which articulated an overarching vision to boost the skills development and entrepreneurship ecosystem in India and designed the India’s first National Skill Development Mission to coordinate and scale up skill training efforts. Both these policy initiatives were formally launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 15 July 2015.

The Mission seeks to converge, coordinate, implement and monitor skilling activities on a pan-India basis. It brings key the stakeholders under the Central Government and the States together under one umbrella Mission with a three-tier structure, consisting of: the Governing Council for policy role, Steering Committee for coordination role and Mission Directorate (along with an Executive Committee) for execution. The Governing Council of the Mission is headed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, and is guided by his vision of a ‘Skilled India’.

Skill India has led to transformational change in India’s vocational training ecosystem. Over the last one year, over 1.04 crore youth have been trained under the Mission. This figure is 36.8% higher than the previous year’s recorded data. In the current arrangement, 60% of the trainings are directly under MSDE while 40% are across other Central Ministries. MSDE’s Flagship Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), which was launched on July 15, 2015 by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, has trained more than 20 lakh people, of which 40 per cent are women candidates, being trained in their choice of skills.

Speed, Scale, Standards and Sustainability are the four core principles of the NSDM. The first Governing Council Meeting was aimed to review the progress undertaken under the Mission on each of these core principles and sought to discuss a concrete agenda for rapidly scaling up skill training efforts, while maintaining high standards. 

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