New York: Asserting that trade and commerce leads international relations in today's age, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the Indian-American community here that his government is determined to put the economy on an upward trajectory by focussing on key sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and services.
"In today's world, it is trade and commerce that leads international relations and drives the economies," Modi said at a dinner hosted in his honour by Indian Ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar.
Modi, after having addressed nearly 20,000 people of the Indian community at a rock-star style event in Madison Square Garden, spoke briefly to the select gathering of eminent men and women and underscored his government's focus and efforts to move forward on development and make India a magnet of investment.
"Our entire focus is on the growth of economic activity, on how to grow the economy be it agriculture, manufacturing or services," he said. "I believe that for a healthy economy, one-third agriculture, one-third manufacturing, one-third services sector - if all these grow simultaneously then even if one of the sectors faces a decline, the country's economy will not be immensely impacted."
He, however, said that if the economy rests wholly on any one of the sectors, it will not be able to bear the brunt of even slight disruptions. His government is focussed on the manufacturing sector. In manufacturing sector there needs to be creation of small jobs.
"Our efforts is that India should progress and develop in all three sectors," he said adding that in the services sector tourism has a huge scope. "In today's age one sector that has the most potential for growth is tourism. It is estimated that three trillion dollars worth of business lies in the tourism sector," he said, adding that India has not taken advantage of the huge potential that tourism holds and has not even scratched the surface in achieving its potential in the tourism sector.
"Our endeavour is that tourism should grow. I believe that terrorism divides and tourism unites," he said to a rousing applause by the audience as he?said that when tourism grows, then everyone from the "autoricksha walah, taxi walah and chaiwala" earns.
Citing India's philosophy of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam', he said there would be no need of any tourism promotion if one Indian family in the US motivates five non Indian families to travel to India as a tourist.
It would be a big service to the nation, he said. Modi said if the country moves in the direction of economic development and growth, in the direction of providing more and more people with employment and if growth accelerates on a fast pace, India will become a centre of attraction for the world and it will not be required to invite anyone.
"Our growth story will move forward on its own," he said and assured the people that his government is trying to move in that direction with all seriousness and sincerity. Modi sought cooperation from Indian-Americans in his effort to revive the Indian economy.
The reception was attended by about 712 invited guests including Pepsi Co chief Indra Nooyi, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria among scores of other eminent Indian-Americans, US government officials, lawmakers and business tycoons.
The guests on the Prime Minister's table were Representative Ed Royce, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Nooyi, Asia Scholar Visakha Desai, the Indian ambassador. Among the Congressmen who were invited to the reception were Joe Crowley, Ed Royce, Ami Bera, Tulsi Gabbard, Jim McDermott and Frank Pallone.
The other eminent guests included Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service Arun Kumar, American physician nominated by U S President Barack Obama to serve as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States Vivek Murthy, New President of Indian-American Doctors' Association Ravi Jahagirdar, filmmaker Trilok Malik, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Ashley Tellis, Chairman of the Mississippi Board of Mental Health Sampat Shivangi and Former Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, AppNet Ken Bajaj.
Among the eminent Indians present were vice-president and general secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party Ram Madhav, former head of the Confederation of India Industry Tarun Das and veteran journalist M J Akbar.