'Rebranded' India PM Wows NYC Crowds

Modi urges Indian-Americans to help motherland
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2014 12:10 AM CDT
'Rebranded' India PM Wows NYC Crowds
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India gives a speech at Madison Square Garden yesterday.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

There was a lot of love on display for Narendra Modi and the country he leads at a sellout appearance at Madison Square Garden yesterday. In what the BBC calls a "rebranding exercise, national and personal," the Indian prime minister told the mainly Indian-American crowd of 19,000 that this is "Asia's century" and praised the country's economic and technological achievements—including getting a spacecraft to Mars last week for just $72 million. At the heart of his speech was an appeal to skilled Indian-Americans to give something back to India, and he promised to make it easier for them to obtain visas to work in the country, reports the Times of India.

Modi told the crowd, "You have given me a lot of love," reports the New York Times. "This kind of love has never been given to any Indian leader, ever," he said. "I'm very grateful to you. And I will repay that loan by forming the India of your dreams." But while the crowd inside the stadium chanted his name, protesters outside accused him of violating human rights while he was governor of Gujarat province, where Hindu mobs killed more than 1,000 Muslims in 2002, USA Today reports. "Once a fascist, always a fascist," said a Pace University professor, slamming Modi's Hindu nationalism as "against the grain of secular India." Modi will be at the White House for meetings with President Obama today and tomorrow—including a dinner where the fasting leader will have only water. (More Madison Square Garden stories.)

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