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.
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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.
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.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.