Houston, TX…PRIME MINISTER MODI: Good morning, Houston. (Applause.) Good morning, Texas. (Applause.) Good morning, America. (Applause.) Greetings to my fellow Indians in India and around the world. (Applause.) Friends, this morning we have a very special person with us. (Applause.) He needs no introduction. (Applause.) His name is familiar to every person on the planet. (Applause.) His name comes up in almost every conversation in the world on global politics. (Applause.) His every word is followed by tens of millions. He was a household name and very popular even before he went on to occupy the highest office in this great country. (Applause.)
From CEO to Commander-in-Chief — (applause) — from ballrooms to the Oval Office — (applause) — from studios to global stage — (applause) — from politics to the economy and to security, he has left a deep and lasting impact everywhere. (Applause.)
Today, he is here with us. It is my honor and privilege to welcome here, in the magnificent stadium and magnificent gathering — (applause) — and I can say I had a chance to meet him often, and every time I found the friendliness, warmth, energy — the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump. (Applause.)
This is extraordinary. This is unprecedented. (Applause.) Friends, as I told you, we have met a few times. And every time, he has been the same warm, friendly, accessible, energetic, and full of wit. (Applause.) I admire him for something more: his sense of leadership, a passion for America, a concern for every American, a belief in American future, and a strong resolve to make America great again. (Applause.)
And he has already made the American economy strong again. (Applause.) He has achieved much for the United States and for the world. Friends, we in India have connected well with President Trump. The words — the words of candidate Trump, “Abki baar Trump sarkar” — (applause) — rang loud and clear. And his celebration of Diwali in the house — White House lit up millions of faces with joy and appreciation.
When I met him for the first time, he said to me, “India has a true friend in White House.” (Applause.) Your presence here today is great testimony to that. (Applause.) In these years, our two nations have taken that relationship to new heights.
Mr. President, this morning, in Houston, you can hear the heartbeat of this great partnership in this celebration of the world’s two largest democracies. (Applause.) You can feel the strength and depth of human bonds between our two great nations. (Applause.) People are at the heart of all relationships, from Houston to Hyderabad — (applause); from Boston to Bengaluru — (applause); from Chicago to Shimla — (applause); from Los Angeles to Ludhiana — (applause); from New Jersey to New Delhi — (applause), hundreds of millions are glued to their TV, even though it is rather late on a Sunday night in India.
Millions around the world in different time zones are with us today. They are witnessing history in the making. (Applause.) Mr. President, you had introduced me to your family in 2017. And today, I have the honor to introduce you to my family — (applause) — over a billion Indians and people of Indian heritage around the globe.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my friend, a friend of India, a great American President, Mr. Donald Trump. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Hello, Houston. I am so thrilled to be here in the great state of Texas with one of America’s greatest, most devoted, and most loyal friends: Prime Minister Modi of India. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.
And Prime Minister Modi is doing a truly exceptional job for India and for all of the Indian people. It is my immense privilege to be here with him today at this profoundly historic event. We’re especially grateful to be joined by over 50,000 incredible members of our nation’s thriving, prospering, flourishing, and hardworking Indian American community. Thank you. (Applause.)
Just a few months ago, in the largest democratic election in the history of our world, 600 million Indians went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly for Prime Minister Modi and his party. Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister. (Applause.) That’s a lot of people. (Laughter.)
Earlier this week, I understand you marked another important milestone. I know everyone here joins me in wishing you a very happy birthday. (Applause.) Happy birthday.
I want to take a moment to address every resident of Houston affected by the recent horrible flooding. The entire American nation is standing by your side. We’re ready. We love you. We support you. We will be there with you every single step of the way.
I just left the Coast Guard hangar in Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, where I was briefed on the Texas flooding. We are working with your great governor, Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Thank you very much. They’re working hard together. (Applause.)
My administration will not rest until you have fully recovered, restored, and rebuilt. And I know you will come back with the same tremendous spirit that we have shown every single time — every time there’s been a problem. It’s called “Houston Strong.” (Applause.)
Prime Minister Modi and I have come to Houston to celebrate everything that unites America and India: our shared dreams and bright futures. I’ve also come to express my profound gratitude to the nearly 4 million amazing Indian Americans all across our country. (Applause.) You enrich our culture, you uphold our values, you uplift our communities, and you are truly proud to be American. And we are proud to have you as Americans. (Applause.) We thank you. We love you. And I want you to know my administration is fighting for you each and every day.
I want to recognize U.S. Ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, and Minister Jaishankar of India. Thank you very much. Thank you both. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
We’re also proudly joined by NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky, your state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a couple of very great senators. Kevin, thank you. Thank you all for being here. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you.
We have a lot of senators. We have a lot of Congress people. There’s Mr. Brady — Congressman Brady. He gave us a very, very nice tax cut, folks. Thank you, Kevin, very much. Thank you all for being here.
Among the leaders here today for this remarkable celebration are many members of the House and Senate — they’re all over the audience — including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and again, Senators Cornyn, Cruz.
In my campaign for President, I promised all of that. If we were elected, India would have a true and great friend in the White House. And I can tell you, you have never had a better friend as President than President Donald Trump, that I can tell you. (Applause.) The Prime Minister knows that.
On this day, I’m happy to report that the relationship between the United States and India is stronger than ever before. The ties between our two nations are grounded in our common values and our shared commitment to democracy. We are free nations, with great faith and a fierce devotion to our national independence. We are governed by the rule of law, guided by a commitment to justice, and strengthened by our love of liberty.
Our two national constitutions both begin with the same three beautiful words: “We the people.” (Applause.) That means that in America and India alike, we honor, respect, trust, empower, and fight for the citizens we proudly serve.
Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, the world is witnessing a strong, sovereign, and thriving Republic of India. (Applause.) In a single decade, with the help of Prime Minister Modi’s pro-growth reforms, India has lifted nearly 300 million people out of poverty, and that is an incredible number. Incredible. That’s incredible. In the next decade, 140 million Indian household will rise to the middle class.
In both India and the United States, we’re something really remarkable: Our people are prospering like never before, because we are slashing bureaucracy and cutting job-killing red tape. (Applause.)
In the United States, thanks to our massive tax cuts, and all of our great senators and congressmen and women that are here today, and pro-worker policies, our economy is breaking one record after another. Since my election, we have created over 6 million new jobs. We have created over 750,000 jobs right here in Texas. (Applause.) And very importantly, that includes 70,000 new Texas manufacturing jobs. They said that couldn’t be done. (Applause.)
Unemployment — think of this — unemployment in Texas is currently at the lowest rate every recorded in the history of our country. (Applause.) And unemployment in the United States has just reached the lowest level in over 51 years, and very soon, we think that will be broken to be a historic number. (Applause.)
Unemployment among African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans have all reached their lowest levels in the history of our country. (Applause.)
Over the last two years, the unemployment rate among Indian Americans dropped by nearly thirty-three and one third percent. (Applause.) Wages are rising, incomes are soaring, and inequality is falling at the fastest rate in many, many years.
In the past 12 months alone, the average worker has taken home $1,000 extra in rising wages and over $3,000 with tax cuts and all of the other things that we’ve done. And for the first time in history, most new hires of prime working age are minorities and women. First time that’s ever happened. (Applause.)
Through our Pledge to America’s Workers, we have secured commitments for nearly 14 million employment and trading opportunities for American workers, done through our great American companies.
We passed the biggest tax cuts and the biggest tax reforms in the history of our country. We slashed a record number of job-killing regulations, giving the average American household more than $3,000 every year. And never in the history of our country — no matter how long the presidency — have regulations been cut to this extent. (Applause.)
Every day, the Indian American community is helping to strengthen our country and build our future. Indian Americans are pioneering groundbreaking medicines to save countless lives. They’re developing revolutionary technology that is changing the world. And they’re founding new businesses that provide jobs to thousands of our fellow citizens.
Prime Minister Modi, I look forward to working with you to make our nations even more prosperous than ever before. (Applause.) And that’s what’s happening.
The economic miracles taking place today are just beginning. Here in the United States, there has never been a better time to hire, invest, grow, and pursue your dreams.
Indian companies employ tens of thousands of Americans across a range of industries, including American steel. In 2018, India’s JSW Steel announced that it would invest up to $500 million to revitalize a shuttered steel plant in the great state of Ohio. (Applause.)
And we welcome India’s growing investments right here in the Lone Star State. Nations around the world are investing in the United States because they know we have the best economy and the best workers in the world. They have never invested in our country like they are today. And we want to thank everybody. And India has never invested in the United States like it is doing today. And I want to say, it’s reciprocal — because we’re doing the same thing in India. (Applause.)
On Tuesday, two Japanese companies, Toyota and Aisin, announced a combined investment of almost $800 million, which will create over 900 new jobs right here in Texas.
At the same time, we are working to expand American exports to India — one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. We are committed to ensuring the Indian people have access to the finest goods in the world, products stamped with that beautiful phrase, “Made in the USA.” (Applause.)
And very soon, India will have access to another world-class American product: NBA basketball. Wow. (Applause.) Sounds good. That sounds good. Next week, thousands of people will gather in Mumbai to watch the first-ever NBA basketball game in India. (Applause.) Am I invited, Mr. Prime Minister? (Laughter.) I may come. Be careful, I may come. (Laughter.)
When it comes to expanding our commercial relationship, no issue is more important than energy security. For the first time ever, the United States is the number-one producer of both oil and natural gas on planet Earth — and number one, by far — with much of it coming right here from the great state of Texas. (Applause.) That means more jobs, higher wages, and lower prices at the pump.
Yesterday, we were thrilled to hear about the Indian company Petronet’s pledge to purchase up to 5 million tons of LNG per year from the United States, which could lead to billions of dollars of LNG exports to India in the coming years. (Applause.) And we have plenty of it.
Over the last year, crude exports to India have grown by 400 percent, and liquefied natural gas exports continue to soar at record numbers. Thank you. (Applause.) These tremendous exports not only expand employment in America, but they increase freedom and security for India.
To keep our nations safe, the United States and India are forging an even stronger security partnership. U.S. defense sales to India have also reached $18 billion over the past decade. We make the greatest defense mechanisms and equipment anywhere in the world. And India knows that well. We’re looking forward to concluding several new defense deals very soon. There are a lot of them in the works.
Here in America, we are creating the United States Space Force, and we’re working closely with India to enhance space cooperation. (Applause.)
In November, the United States and India will demonstrate a dramatic progress of our defense relationship, holding the first-ever tri-service military exercise between our nations. It’s called “Tiger Triumph.” Good name. It’s a good name. (Applause.) Very good name.
Today, we honor all of the brave American and Indian military service members who work together to safeguard our freedom. We stand proudly in defense of liberty, and we are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. (Applause.) Thank you.
Both India and the United States also understand that to keep our communities safe, we must protect our borders. (Applause.) Since taking office, my administration has launched a far-reaching effort to improve screening and vetting of applications for entry. We are working hard to ensure that those who would threaten our security are denied admission into our country. And we are enhancing our vetting efforts like never before. Not even close. We’re doing it on a daily basis, and we’ll soon be setting records at every one of the aspects of border security. Border security is vital to the United States. Border Security is vital to India. We understand that. (Applause.)
And we are further taking unprecedented action to finally secure our southern border and stop illegal immigration. And I want to thank the President of Mexico, who right now has 27,000 soldiers on our southern border. It’s been incredible what’s taken place in a short period of time.
Illegal immigration is deeply unfair to millions of wonderful, legal immigrants who work hard, pay their taxes, follow our rules, and obey our laws. Yet, there are those in Washington who would raid your healthcare to fund free benefits. They want to fund free benefits to those who enter our country illegally. We don’t want to do that.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because if we don’t do it, they won’t come.
I will never allow politicians to take away your healthcare or give it to illegal immigrants. My administration believes our first duty is to the highest loyalty of all: We must always be for the American people. Whether it’s African American, Hispanic American, Indian American, we are going to take care of our citizens first. We are going to take care of our Indian American citizens before we take care of illegal immigrants that want to pour into our country. (Applause.)
We want to build a nation where every family — immigrant and U.S.-born — can live in a safe community with access to a great school, work at a job you love, and have the best chance to reach the American Dream. We love the American Dream.
And just in concluding, I want to say that America has always been a nation of pioneers and patriots, risk-takers and free thinkers, and dedicated workers who have honed a trade, mastered their field, and teach their children to always give their very, very best. (Applause.)
Every day, Indian Americans help write this story of American greatness, and everyone here today has a crucial part to play in building an even grander and greater American and Indian future. (Applause.)
To help achieve that exciting vision, we are strengthening our cherished bonds with the nation of India, and we are proving the awesome power of democracy and unlimited potential of free people. (Applause.)
Together, we will continue to deepen the ties between our nations, we will honor the faith and dignity of our citizens, and we will achieve incredible advancements for our people, for our children, and for the world.
We will discover new cures and save millions of lives. We will advance cutting-edge technologies, and lift millions and millions of people out of poverty. We will pioneer new frontiers in space, working together, raising the sights of humanity. We will uphold our values, defend our liberty, and control our destiny.
The United States and India will make our nations stronger, our people wealthier, our dreamers bigger, and our future brighter than ever before. And it won’t even be close.
I want to thank everybody for being here. I want to especially thank a great man and a great leader, the leader of India, Prime Minister Modi, my friend. (Applause.) Thank you.
God bless you all. God bless India. And God bless America. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
Now I would like to invite onto this stage, in front of this incredible group of unbelievable people, Prime Minister Modi, who’s going to give his — some of his wisdom. And his wisdom is indeed great.
Thank you all very much. It’s been a great honor to be with you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER MODI: Thank you, President Trump. Thanks a lot. Howdy, my friends. (Applause.)
(As interpreted.) This scene is (inaudible) and it is Texas. It has to be grand. It has to be large. This is the very nature of Texas. (Applause.)
Today, I can see a reflection of the Texas spirit right here. The significance of this huge gathering is not limited to mere numbers, to arithmetic. Today, we are witnessing here the making of a new history and the making of a new chemistry, too. (Applause.)
The energy of NRG bears testimony to the growing synergy of India and the United States of America. (Applause.) The presence of President Trump at this event and the presence of various representatives of the great American democracy, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, and for them to say such wonderful words for me and for India and to also give me blessings; the presence of Steny Hoyer, Senator Cornyn, Senator Cruz, and my other friends — what they have stated about the growth of India and all of the praise for India is a mark of respect for Indians living in America, respect for their capabilities and their achievements. (Applause.) It is a mark of respect for 1.3 billion Indians. (Applause.)
Apart from elected representatives, many American friends are also here at this event today. On behalf of every Indian, I extend a very warm welcome to all of you.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the organizers of this event. I’ve been told that people registered for this event in very large numbers; however, due to space constraints, thousands have not been able to attend. My apologies — my personal apologies — to all those who could not be here today.
I would also like to praise the administration of Houston and Texas, who, due to a sudden change in weather, had to experience a lot of difficulties. But in a very short time, they were able to put things back in order and made the arrangements. And as President Trump mentioned, they proved that Houston is strong. (Applause.)
Friends, you may have named this event, “Howdy, Modi!” However, Modi on his own is nothing. (Applause.) I am just an ordinary person who follows the orders of 1.3 billion Indians. (Applause.) And, therefore, when you ask, “Howdy, Modi,” my answer is that the only answer to this is: (Speaks in multiple languages). (Applause.)
Friends, our American friends must be wondering and surprised, “What has he just said?” President Trump and my American friends, I simply said, “Everything is fine.” (Applause.)
However, I said it in some different languages of India. These languages are a very integral part of our identity as a liberal and democratic society. For centuries in our country, dozens of languages, hundreds of dialects have co-existed in India in perfect harmony and are the mother tongue of millions of people.
And, friends, it’s not just languages. In our country, different sects, dozens of communities, different rituals and ways of worship, hundreds of different regional cuisines, different traditional dress styles, different season cycles — this is what makes this land amazing.
Unity and diversity is our heritage and this is what makes us unique. This diversity of India is the very basis of our vibrant democracy. This is our strength and this is our inspiration. Wherever we go, we take with us the values of diversity and democracy. Today, the over 50,000 Indians present in this stadium — the more than 50,000 Indians who are present here in the stadium are here as representatives of this great tradition of ours. (Applause.)
There are several among you who also contributed very actively during the 2019 general elections — the largest festival of democracy in India. Indeed, after the 2019 elections, the flag of Indian democracy is flying high across the world. Over 610 million voters, which means — took part in this election. In a sense, the 610 million voters is almost double the population of America. And in this number, there were 80 million youth who were first-time voters. These elections also had the maximum turnout of women voters in the history of India. And also, this time the largest-ever number of women were elected. (Applause.)
Friends, the 2019 election set another new record. It was for the first time in 60 years that a government elected with an absolute majority completed its five-year term and came back with an even greater majority. (Applause.)
Now, why did this happen? Who made it happen? (Applause.) No! Not because of Modi. This is because of the Indians. (Applause.)
Friends, Indians are known for their patience. However, now we are impatient. We are impatient for the development of our country. We are impatient to take the country to new heights in the 21st century. Today, the buzzword in India is “development.” The greatest model in India today is collective efforts, inclusive growth. (Applause.) Today, the biggest policy in India is public participation. Today, the strongest sentiment among Indians is the resolve to attain. And today, India’s greatest resolve is the creation of a new India. (Applause.)
India today is working tirelessly day and night in order to realize this dream of a new India. And what is most special about it is that we are not competing against anyone else but with ourselves.
We are challenging ourselves. We are changing ourselves. Friends, today India wants to move forward at a much faster pace than before. Today, India is challenging the mindset of those who say that, and their mindset is, “Nothing will ever change.” (Applause.)
In the last five years, 1.3 billion Indians have together achieved results in every field. Results that no one could have even imagined were possible earlier. We are aiming high. We are achieving higher. (Applause.) Brothers and sisters, it took seven decades in our country to achieve a rural sanitation coverage of 38 percent. In five years, we made more than 110 million toilets. Today, the rural sanitation coverage is 99 percent. (Applause.)
In our country, it took seven decades for households to have cooking gas connection and it stood at 55 percent within five years. We took this figure up to 95 percent. And within only five years, we added 150 million new gas connections.
In India, it took seven decades to achieve 55 percent rural road connectivity. In just five years, we have taken this figure to 97 percent. (Applause.) In just five years, we constructed over 200,000 kilometers of roads in rural areas.
In seven decades, less than 50 percent of people in the country had a bank account. And today, in five years, nearly 100 percent of families are part of the banking system. In five years, over 370 million bank accounts have been opened.
Friends, now that people need to be less worried about their basic necessities, they are able to dream big and are focusing their energy on achieving their goals.
My friends, for us, ease of doing business is important to us. However, the ease of living is equally important. And the way to achieve this is by empowering people. It is only when the common man is empowered that social and economic development over the country will take place at a fast pace.
Let me give you an example. Friends, it is often said today that data is the new oil. You all are from Houston. In Houston, I’m sure you understand very well what it means.
In fact, I would further add that data is the new gold. The entire focus of Industry 4.0 is on data. Do you know — and I want you to pay close attention to what I’m saying — do you know which country offers data at the lowest rate in the world? It is India. (Applause.)
Today, in India, 1GB of data costs only around 25 to 30 cents, which means a quarter of a dollar. And I would also like to tell you that the global average price of 1GB data today is about 25 to 30 times this amount. This affordable data is the new identity of digital India. Affordable data has redefined governance in India. Today, nearly — today in India, nearly 10,000 services of the central and state governments are available online.
Friends, there was a time when it would take two, even three months for a passport to be ready. Today, the passport is delivered to your home in less than a week. (Applause.) Earlier, it used to be so difficult to get a visa, and I think you all know this better than me. And today, U.S. is one of the biggest users of India’s e-visa facility.
Friends, there was a time when the registration of a new company would take two or three weeks. Now, a new company can be registered in just 24 hours.
There was a time when filing tax returns was a big headache. Getting your tax refund could take months. Now the changes that have taken place, if you hear about them, they will amaze you. This time, on the 31st of August, on just one day — I am just talking about one single day. In one day, approximately 5 million people filed their income tax return online. That is, 5 million returns were filed in a single day — more than double the total population of Houston.
And another big achievement: Tax refunds that used to take months, they are now received within a week or 10 days and are transferred directly into the taxpayer’s bank account.
Brothers and sisters, for any country striving for development, it is essential to have welfare schemes for their citizens. For needy citizens in particular, welfare schemes are important, along with running welfare schemes for needy citizens, in order to build a new India.
It is also essential to bid farewell to a few things. We have given a lot of importance to welfare, but also to farewells. On the 2nd of October this year, as the country celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, India will bid farewell to open defecation. In the last five years, India has also bid farewell to over 1,500 outdated laws. The complex web of dozens of taxes that existed in India were an obstacle to creating a business-friendly environment. Our government has bid farewell to this web of taxes and implemented GST — the goods and services tax. After years, we have made the dream of one nation, one tax come true in our country.
Friends, we are setting ourselves a challenge to do away with corruption, and we are working towards bidding farewell to it at all levels. In the last two or three years, India has also bid farewell to 350,000 shell companies. We have also bid farewell to over 80 million fake names, which existed just on paper in order to avail and to benefit from government schemes. And friends, can you imagine how much money we have saved by preventing it from falling into the wrong hands? Approximately 1.5 trillion rupees; that is almost 20 billion U.S. dollars.
In our country, we are creating a transparent ecosystem so that the benefits of development can be enjoyed by every Indian. And, brothers and sisters, depriving even one Indian of development is not acceptable to India.
The country was also facing another challenge for the last 70 years — a challenge that India bid farewell to only recently. (Applause.) You have understood. And that is Article 370. (Applause.) Article 370 deprived the people of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh of development and equal rights. The forces funding terrorism and separatism were exploiting the situation. Now, the same rights that were given by the Constitution of India to the rest of Indians have now also been given to the people of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. (Applause.)
The discrimination against their women, children, and traditionally underprivileged has been put to an end. Friends, in the Upper and Lower Houses of our Parliament, this topic was debated extensively for hours, and the proceedings were also telecast live across the country and across the world. Although our party does not have a majority in the Upper House — that is in the Rajya Sabha — despite this, both Kouses of our Parliament, the Upper House and the Lower House, both of the Houses of our government passed all related decisions on this with a two-third majority. (Applause.)
I would like to request all of you — the parliamentarians of India should receive a standing ovation for what they have done. (Applause.) Thank you very much, all of you.
India’s actions within its boundaries are causing discomfort to some people — (applause) — who are unable to manage their own country. (Applause.) These people have put their hatred of India at the center of their political agenda. These are people who want unrest. These are people who support terrorism and who nurture terrorism. (Applause.)
You know them very well. You know who they are. It’s not just you; the whole world knows who they are. Whether it was 9/11 in America or the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, where were the conspirators of these attacks found?
Friends, the time has come fight a decisive battle against terrorism and against all those who promote terrorism. (Applause.)
I would like to reiterate the fact that President Trump is firmly committed to fighting this battle against terrorism. (Applause.) President Trump’s commitment to fight terrorism — let us give him a standing ovation for his commitment to fight terrorism. (Applause.) Thank you, friends.
Brothers and sisters, a lot is happening in India. And a lot is changing, and we are moving forward with the desire to do so much more. We are going to set new challenges for ourselves and achieve them, come what may.
I recently wrote a poem about the feelings of my countrymen. I would like to recite a few lines from that poem for you. I won’t go into a lot of detail at the moment; we don’t have enough time. But here are the few lines from the poem:
“To you, a mountain of problems it may seem,
But it is, in fact, my tower of courage and my dreams.”
But it is, in fact, my tower of courage and dreams, friends. Today, India is not skirting challenges and putting them off. We are dealing with them head on.
Today, India is not looking at making just a few incremental changes. We are focusing on comprehensive solutions for problems — even things that seemed impossible. India has demonstrated that they can be done. Friends, India has now rolled up its sleeves and resolved to become a $5 trillion economy. We are emphasizing the development of infrastructure and increasing investment and exports. We are moving forward, creating a people-friendly, development-friendly, and investment-friendly environment. We are going to spend 100 lakh crore, or 1.3 trillion dollars, on infrastructure.
Friends, during the last five years, despite all of the uncertainties in the world, India has attained an average growth rate of 7.5 percent. And bear in mind that if you look at the average achieved during any previous government’s term in office, this kind of growth has never been achieved. For the first time, India is going through, at the same the time, a period of low inflation, low fiscal deficit, and high growth.
Today, India is one of the top FDI destinations in the world. Between the years 2014 and 2019, the FDI inflow into India almost doubled. Just recently, we have liberalized the FDI norms for single-brand retail. Coal mining and contract manufacturing can now avail of foreign investment up to 100 percent.
Yesterday, I had a meeting with CEOs from the energy sector. I met them here in Houston. They were very encouraged by the decision that we have taken to considerably reduce corporate tax. Their feedback was that the decision to reduce corporate tax will send a very positive message, not just in India, but to global business leaders as well. This decision will make India more globally competitive.
Friends, for Indians in America and for Americans in India, there are unlimited possibilities and opportunities. India’s journey — new India’s journey towards a $5 trillion economy and the strong economic growth in America under President Trump’s leadership will give these opportunities new wings.
In his address, President Trump mentioned economic miracles. They will definitely become realities. In the next two or three days, President Trump and I will have discussions. I hope that from these discussions as well we will have very positive results.
By the way, President Trump calls me a tough negotiator. However, he himself is quite an expert in the “art of the deal.” (Applause.) And I am learning quite a lot from him.
Friends, our forward march toward a better future will now gather greater momentum. All of you, my friends, you are an important part of it. You are a driving force for it. Today, you may be far away from your homeland, India, but your homeland’s government is not far from you. (Applause.)
In the last five years, we have changed both the content and form of interaction with the Indian diaspora. Now, the Indian embassies and consulates are not just government offices anymore; they are your friends, first. For our friends who are working overseas, the government is also constantly working for their interests and security — several services like MADAD, eMigrate, training prior to going overseas, improvement in insurance schemes for Indian diaspora, merging the PIO and OCI cards. So many steps have been taken that have considerably helped Indians in going abroad and in foreign lands, as well.
Our government has also expanded the scope of the Indian Community Welfare Fund. We have also opened several NRI assistance centers in new cities overseas.
Brothers and sisters, new definitions, new opportunities for the 21st century will arise out of the message that will emanate from this event today. We have the strength of common democratic values, a common resolve to build a new future for our countries, and that is why together we can go towards a bright future.
I would like to — Excellency, Mr. President, I would like you to come to India, along with your family. Give us an opportunity to welcome you in our country. This friendship of ours will help us to achieve the shared dreams that we have and take our relations to new heights.
I would like express my gratefulness to President Trump, to all American political, social, and business leaders for their presence here today. My heartfelt gratefulness to all of you, once again. A big thank you, also, to the government of Texas and to the local administration.
Thank you, Houston. Thank you, America. May God bless you all. Thank you. (Applause.)