Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], Feb 24 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump on Monday lauded India's diversity in his speech to a packed Motera stadium here and said the harmonious coexistence of millions of followers of various religions in the country served as "inspiration to the world".
Addressing the 'Namaste Trump' event here, he said India proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights and dignity.
He said United States and India had "natural, beautiful, enduring friendship" due to their shared values.
Without taking any names, he said there is all the difference in the world between a nation that seeks power through coercion, intimidation, and aggression, and a nation that rises by setting its people free and unleashing them to chase their dreams.
"And that is India. This is why India's accomplishment over the last 70 years is completely unrivalled no matter where you go. It is all the more inspiring because you have done it as a democratic country, you have done it as a peaceful country, you have done it as a tolerant country, and you have done it as a great free country," he said.
He said India's rise as a prosperous and independent nation is an example to every nation all over the world and "one of the most outstanding achievements of our century".
"It is your faith in the strength of a free society, your confidence in your own people, your trust in your own citizens, and your respect for the dignity of every person that makes the United States and India such a natural, beautiful, enduring friendship," he said.
"India is a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law and the dignity of every human being. Your nation has always been admired around the earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews worship side by side in harmony," Trump said to rapturous applause from the gathering.
Over one lakh people were present at the renovated stadium which is the largest cricket stadium in the world and gave rapturous applause to Trump several times during his speech.
Trump said over 100 languages are spoken in India and it has always stood as one great nation.
"You speak more than 100 languages and come from more than two dozen states, yet you have always stood strong as one great Indian nation. Your unity is an inspiration to the world, and in America, we have come to know the splendour of Indian culture through the four million Indian American's living in the United States as our wonderful friends, colleagues, and neighbours," he said.
Asserting the importance of India's heritage, Trump said, "This nation is blessed with many treasures. From the sacred banks of the Ganges, to the Golden Temple, and the Jama Masjid, it is home to some of the most cherished cultural heritage anywhere on Earth. It is also a land of stunning vistas and astonishing natural wonders, from the rugged peaks of the Himalayas to the splendid shores of Goa. And India has always been a wellspring of deep wisdom and great ideas -- from the Vedas and the ancient epics, all the way up to the modern India nation."Trump said he and his wife had travelled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation "America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people," he said at the beginning of his speech.
Referring to Howdy Modi event at Texas five months ago in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he addressed a gathering of Indian Americans, Trump said it was "a profound honour to be the beautiful new stadium".
"You have done a great honour to the American people. Melania and my family, we will always remember this remarkable hospitality. We will remember it forever. From this day on, India will always hold a very special place in our hearts," he said.
Trump showered lavish praise on India and said the country has made a lot of progress. "We are very, very proud of India. The story of the Indian nation is a tale of astounding progress, a miracle of democracy, extraordinary diversity, and above all, a strong and noble people. India gives hope to all of humanity," he said.
"In just 70 years, India has become an economic giant, the largest democracy ever to exist, and one of the most amazing nations anywhere in the world.
Since the turn of the century, India's economy has grown more than six times in size. In a single decade, India has lifted over 270 million people out of poverty," he said.
"India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world. And within less than 10 years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear. The potential for India is absolutely incredible," he added.
Trump said while India and US have many differences but they are both defined and propelled by a fundamental truth - the truth that all of us are blessed with divine light, and every person is endowed with a sacred soul.
He referred to Swami Vivekananda and said in both America and India, "we know that we are all born for a higher purpose: to reach toward our fullest potential, to work toward excellence and perfection, and to give all glory to God".
"Powered by this spirit, Indians and Americans are always striving to be greater, our people are always seeking to be better, and so our nations have become thriving centers of culture and commerce and civilization, giving light and vitality to all of the world," he said.
He said in the US, people have come to know the splendor of Indian culture personally through the 4 million Indian Americans living in the United States as our wonderful friends, colleagues, and neighbours.
"They are truly spectacular people," he said.
"Indian Americans enrich every aspect of our national life. They are titans of business; the biggest, the best pioneers of science; masters of the art; and innovation of technology like few people have been able to see no matter where you go anywhere in this universe," he said.
He said nearly a fourth of Indian Americans trace their roots right here in Gujarat.
"Gujarat is a special place," he said.
Trump said he has come to India in the spirit of fondness and goodwill, "to expand our cherished partnership of incredible power and potential". (ANI)