Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invited the citizens of Denmark to come to India and jointly find the answers to problems related to climate change and environmental degradation. Addressing the Indian community settled in Denmark during his visit to the Nordic nation, Modi asserted that India’s role in damaging the climate is negligible and the need of the hour is to promote a “lifestyle for the environment” (LIFE).
“I want to tell our Danish friends to come to India to jointly find answers to the problems of the planet,” he said while referring to Nobel Prize-winning Danish physicist Neils Bohr’s famous line – “I go to the Upanishad to ask questions”.
— ANI (@ANI) May 3, 2022
Amid chants of ‘Modi, Modi’, ‘Modi hai to mumkin hai’, and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ by his NRI supporters, the Prime Minister sought to coin a term ‘Chalo India’ (Let’s Go to India) ‘Chalo India’ and asked attendees to convince at least their five non-Indian friends to visit the country. To ecstatic gathering, he said, “You should inspire at least five of your friends to visit India… and people will say ‘Chalo India’. This is the work you all ‘rashtradoot’ (ambassadors of the nation) have to do.”
Modi talked about possibilities of cooperation between India and Denmark in electric mobility, green hydrogen, waste-to-wealth, sustainable urbanisation, green shipping, science, technology and innovation. “Denmark was with us in India’s White Revolution, now becoming a strong partner in our green future,” he added.
Grateful to the Indian community in Denmark for their warm reception. Addressing a programme in Copenhagen. https://t.co/PCjwh3ZM9p
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 3, 2022
Later in the day, PM Modi also had an audience with Margrethe II, the Queen of the Kingdom of Denmark, who extended a warm reception to him. Modi felicitated the queen on the occasion of the golden jubilee of her reign. Denmark PM Mette Frederiksen, who left Modi’s interaction with NRIs midway, was also in attendance.
Her Majesty, the Queen of the Kingdom of Denmark, Margrethe II extended a warm reception to PM @narendramodi.
Prime Minister felicitated Her Majesty on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of her reign. pic.twitter.com/7DGqMz0n2j
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) May 3, 2022
‘L.I.F.E: Lifestyle for environment’
While interacting with the Indian community in an auditorium, the PM further said the need of the hour was to promote “lifestyle for environment”. “The mindset of use and throw is negative for the planet. It is necessary to get out of consumption-oriented approach and the need of the hour is to promote ‘LIFE — Lifestyle for Environment’. India’s role in damaging the climate is negligible; Indians have had no role in damaging the planet,” he added.
He said India’s capacity to deal with global challenges was in the interest of the whole world. Calling India the “pharmacy of the world”, Modi talked about India’s successful vaccine aid to needy countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Imagine if in India we could not reach every family for vaccinations, what would have been the impact on the world? If India had not worked on Made in India, cheap and effective vaccines, not produced on a large scale, what would have been the situation of many countries of the world?” he asked.
Modi added, “India has scale and speed as well as values of share and care. So investing in India’s capacity to deal with global challenges is in the interest of the whole world. When India pulls its citizens out of poverty, the poverty across the world goes down. When poor in India are given several facilities like housing, sanitation, clean drinking water, free health care and financial inclusion, it gives a new trust to several countries of the world.”
‘Digital, in India?’
Talking about India’s thrust on technology to meet modern-day challenges, Prime Minister Modi said five to six years ago, the country was one of the most backward in terms of per capita data consumption. But today, he added, the situation had changed.
“When I had spoken of Digital India, some people had raised all kinds of questions. ‘Digital, in India?’ Today, we do more in India than many big countries together consume per capita mobile data. The most important thing is that new users are being added from the villages of India. It has empowered villages and the poor… it has opened the door to a very large digital market. This is the real story of ‘New India’,” Modi said.
‘Inclusiveness, cultural diversity India’s strengths’
Prime Minister Modi also said it was the “inclusiveness and cultural diversity” that powered the Indian community and these values had developed for thousands of years. “Inclusiveness and cultural diversity is the power of the Indian community, which makes us all feel alive every moment. Thousands of years of time have developed these values within us,” he said, adding that Indians, wherever they went in the world, contributed for ‘karmabhoomi’ (land of work), for that country.
“Prime Minister (Mette) Frederiksen being here today is a testament to the love and respect she has for Indians. Many times when I meet world leaders, they proudly tell me about the achievements of the Indian community settled in their countries,” the PM said, while noting that the number of Indians settled abroad was higher than entire population of some countries.
Modi said the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark was guided by Frederiksen’s personal priorities and values. “The discussions I had with her today will give new strength, new energy to the relations between the two countries. This shows the growing relations between India and Denmark. Whatever be the language, but we all have Indian culture. Our food plate changes, our taste changes. But the Indian way of repeatedly pleading with affection does not change,” he added.
Modi invokes FOMO
Invoking popular social media expression FOMO (fear of missing out), PM Modi said those not investing in India will certainly miss out. Addressing the India-Denmark Business Forum, he said ongoing economic reforms have created investment opportunities in various sectors like green technology, cold chains, shipping and ports.
India, he added, was also working on the PM-Gati Shakti programme to create infrastructure facilities for the next generation. “These days the term FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ is gaining traction on social media. Looking at India’s reforms and investment opportunities, I can say that those who don’t invest in our nation will certainly miss out,” a tweet from the Prime Minister’s Office quoted him as saying.
Modi, who arrived at Copenhagen from Germany, was received by Frederiksen at the airport as a special gesture. After talks with the Danish PM at Marienborg, her official residence, Modi said over 200 Danish companies were already present in India and benefiting from the ‘ease of doing business’ initiative of the central government.
“There are huge investment opportunities for Danish Companies and Danish Pension Funds in India’s Infrastructure Sector and Green Industries,” the PM said in a tweet. Danish companies are operating in various sectors like wind power, shipping, consultancy, food processing and engineering.
He and Frederiksen agreed that opportunities created by the Green Strategic Partnership will likely lead to an upward trajectory in bilateral trade and investment. “In this context, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the launch of the ‘India Green Finance Initiative’, which aims to contribute to financing green projects in India with the purpose of accelerating green growth and job creation in India,” a joint statement by India and Denmark said.
The two leaders also agreed to expand the cooperation on agriculture by a joint declaration of intent establishing among others a centre of excellence on dairy.
Ukraine war, Indo-Pacific region features in bilateral talks
Earlier in the day, during their talks, the two leaders also exchanged perspectives on the Ukraine war and appealed for an immediate ceasefire as well as return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis. Frederiksen, meanwhile, said she hoped that India will use its influence over Russia to end the war.
“We appealed for immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and return to dialogue and diplomacy for resolving the crisis,” Modi said. Frederiksen said she hoped that India will influence Russia on Ukraine and asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop this war and end the killings”. “My message is very clear that Putin has got to stop this war and to end the killings. I, of course, hope that India will influence Russia also in this discussion,” she said.
The two leaders also stressed on ensuring a “free, open and inclusive” Indo-Pacific region during their talks in Copenhagen. Modi said India and Denmark shared values of democracy, freedom of expression, and the rule of law. Agreeing with him, Frederiksen said, “We share many values. We are two democratic nations, we both believe in a rule-based international system. In times such as these, we need to build an even stronger bridge between us.”
(With PTI inputs)