Breaking Views

Modi once told me he'll deliver a first-rate speech in English

Maybe June 8, 2016 at Capitol Hill was that day for the prime minister.

 |  Breaking Views  |  2-minute read |   09-06-2016
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I thought Narendra Modi delivered a first rate speech to the US Congress: it was statesman-like and finely worded, striking most of the right buttons, firm but laced with humour, engaging but also pragmatic.

I wish he had shown a little grace in acknowledging his non-BJP predecessors and also realised that the reality is often different from the rhetoric (freedom from fear did you say?).

But these are quibbles: in the end, Modi delivered a speech for the occasion. It was designed to strike a bond with the US Congress, the same body whose members had once chosen to deny him a US visa.

Also read - No more hesitations of history: Capitol Hill is Modi's greatest speech ever

The repeated standing ovations perhaps reflect just how far Modi has come in the space of two years. They probably also reflect the new equations in a relationship which has finally found an even keel.

The symphony which the prime minister spoke of is to be welcomed. Mr Modi as a global ambassador of Brand India has been a revelation; now is the time to see if he can walk the talk on more pressing domestic issues.

ckcizhdugaef5wl_060916085730.jpg PM Narendra Modi at Congressional Reception in Washington. (Source: PMO India Twitter) 

By the way, sometime in 1998/1999, Modi had told me that one day he would deliver a speech in English that would be better than my convent educated education had trained me for.

Maybe June 8, 2016 was that day. I rate the speech a 7.5: more delivery on the ground to match the intent would have led me to give an even higher mark.

Here is the rating of our India Today panel.


Rajdeep Sardesai Rajdeep Sardesai @sardesairajdeep

Journalist, author: 2014: The Election That Changed India. When not chained to the news, watch sport, read, write, sleep and enjoy family holidays.

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