Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the resounding mandate to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was for building a 'new India', and asserted that corruption, nepotism, loot of people's money, and terrorism have been reined in like never before.
Addressing the Indian community at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, Modi also talked about 'major decisions' such as banning of practice of triple talaq, taken by his government in its second term.
In a veiled reference to abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said, "There is no scope for temporary in India. You would have seen that a country of 1.25 billion people, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, Ram, Krishna, took 70 years to remove what was temporary.
"To remove temporary it took 70 years, I dont know whether I should laugh or cry... Reform, perform, and transform and with permanent systems, the country is moving forward to achieve its goal."
Modi, who was in France on the first leg of his three-nation tour, said there have been a number of constructive changes in the last five years.
"India is racing ahead not because of Modi...it is because of the stamp of approval that the people of India have given in the form of their votes," the prime minister said amid loud cheering of 'Modi hai toh mumkin hai' (it is possible if Modi is there) from the crowd.
He also asserted that 'in 'new India', corruption, nepotism, dynasty, loot of people's money, and terrorism have been reined in like never before'.
Modi's comments on corruption assume significance as they come two days after the high-profile arrest of senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram by the CBI in a money laundering case, evoking a strong reaction from opposition parties which accused the Centre of misusing probe agencies for 'political vendetta'.
Hailing the move of doing away with the practice of triple talaq, he said how could a 'new India' accept such injustice to Muslim women.
"Inspired by the mantra of clear policy and right direction, one after another several major decisions have been taken by the government," he said.
Modi also asserted that India has embarked upon a journey of hope and aspirations, and with the collective efforts of 130 crore people, the country is moving ahead at a fast pace on the path of development.
"This is the reason that people have again given us a resounding mandate. This mandate is not just to run the government, but it is for building a new India.
"A new India of whose enriched culture, the world is proud of. A new India with a focus on ease of doing business and also ensures ease of living," Modi said.
"The 100-day milestone is yet to arrive. Mind you, the first 50-75 days are generally taken to plan things and get greetings and congratulatory calls, but we did not get into that," Modi asserted.
Modi also said India will achieve most of the COP 21 climate change goals set for 2030, in the next year and a half.
India will be free of tuberculosis in 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030, he said.
Ahead of his address, the Prime Minister through a video conferencing inaugurated a memorial in honour of the victims of two Air India crashes in France in the 1950s and 1960s.
In his speech, he also listed a slew of measures taken by his government for development and empowerment of the people such as opening of bank accounts and the running of the 'world's biggest health insurance scheme'.
"In the last five years, we have red carded a number of bad practices from the country," he said while using a football analogy.
Modi also talked about his government's achievements such as forming of the 'jal shakti' ministry, pension for poor farmers and traders and doing away of the 'inhuman practice' of triple talaq.
He also highlighted that the recently-concluded Parliament session was the most productive in the last six decades.
Modi also hailed the Indo-French strategic relations and partnership.
"We have fought fascism and extremism not only in India, but also in France," he said.
"Friendship between India and France is based on strong ideals. The character of both nations was built on the common values of liberty, equality and fraternity," he said.
If today, France and India are closely cooperating in fighting the big dangers facing the world such as terrorism and climate change, the reason is these common ideals, the prime minister said.
"India and France have distinct characteristic that they face challenges by taking strong action," Modi said.
There was a lot of talk about dangers of climate change but action was not evident, he said, adding that it was India and France which took the decisive step of forming the International Solar Alliance.
To underline the close strategic partnership between India and France, Modi said a lot is being discussed about 'INFRA' which can be taken as 'In plus Fra'--the alliance of India and France.
"From solar infra to social infra, from technical infra to space infra, from digital infra to defence infra, the India-France alliance is moving forward strongly," he asserted.