India's new PM Narendra Modi has received a rapturous welcome in New York. He pledged to unleash India's economic potential. Washington has hastened to court the Indian premier, who was once shunned by the US. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was treated like a rock star at New York's Madison Square Garden Sunday, as he vowed to make India a major power before a crowd of some 18,500 people.
"There was a time when people thought that we were a country of snake-charmers," Modi said.
"Our people used to play with snakes, but now they play with the mouse – and that mouse makes the whole world run," Modi said, referring to the computer mouse used on desks.
Modi spoke for an hour in Hindi from a revolving stage as he renewed his pledge to unleash India's economic potential. He also praised the achievements of Indian-Americans and spoke of his humble beginnings.
"People ask for a big vision? Well, I got here by selling tea," he said to thunderous applause. "I'm a modest man, and that's why I plan to do big things for modest people," he said.
Modi won India's premiership by the widest electoral margin in over three decades in elections that were held in April and May of this year.
A rock star reception
New York's Madison Square Garden is better-known for hosting marquee sporting events and sold-out concerts than politicians. But Modi was greeted with rapturous applause as he took the stage.
More than 30 members of the US Congress were present at the event, which was complete with a Bollywood-style warm up act and traditional Indian dances. A reception of this scale for a foreign leader in the United States is almost unprecedented.
"This kind of love has not been given to any Indian leader ever," Modi said. "I will repay that loan by building the India of your dreams."
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