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PM Modi to tour US, Ireland from 23-29 Sept: Here’s what his plans are

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After U.S. President Barack Obama raised the issue of religious intolerance in India, The New York Times published a very strong editorial criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what it calls his “dangerous silence” on a series of communal events in the country. The editorial, by the NYT editorial board, lists recent attacks on churches and reports of Ghar Vapsi or conversion and marks out the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for its proposed conversions programme in Ayodhya in March this year, saying the group “was playing with fire.” “Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right,” the NYT editorial surmised. Full text of the Editorial published in the New York Times on February 6, 2015: What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities? Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money. Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right. Recently, a number of Christian churches in India have been burned and ransacked. Last December, St. Sebastian’s Church in East Delhi was engulfed in fire. Its pastor reported a strong smell of kerosene after the blaze was put out. On Monday, St. Alphonsa’s Church in New Delhi was vandalised. Ceremonial vessels were taken, yet collection boxes full of cash were untouched. Alarmed by the attacks, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has urged the government to uphold the secular nature of India and to assure its Christians they are “protected and secure” in their own country. There is also concern about the mass conversions. Last December, about 200 Muslims were converted to Hinduism in Agra. In January, up to 100 Christians in West Bengal “reconverted” to Hinduism. Hard-line Hindu nationalist groups, like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), make no secret of their support for a “homecoming” campaign designed to “return” non-Hindus to the fold. More than 80 per cent of Indians are Hindu, but Pravin Togadia of the VHP says his organisation’s goal is a country that is 100 per cent Hindu. The only way to achieve that is to deny religious minorities their faith. The VHP is reportedly planning a mass conversion of 3,000 Muslims in Ayodhya this month. The destruction of the Babri Mosque there in 1992 by Hindu militants touched off riots between Hindus and Muslims across India that left more than 2,000 people dead. The VHP knows it is playing with fire. Mr. Modi has promised an ambitious agenda for India’s development. But, as President Obama observed in a speech in New Delhi last month: “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith.” Mr. Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US and Ireland later this week is being watched closely, not just by the business community but even the average citizen.They’re hoping to see another Madison Square-like event from Modi, given the hype being created by the prime minister and his supporters.
The tour, which starts on 23 September and ends on 29 September, will cover Ireland and the US.
Modi in a few Facebook posts yesterday explained what he would do during his tour.
Here’s what he will do there:
September 23: Modi said he will be going to Ireland on September 23. It is the first visit by an Indian prime minister to that country in almost 60 years. He will hold talks with Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny.
“We hope to further develop strong people-to-people and economic ties with Ireland in the years to come. In Ireland, I will also interact with the Indian community,” he wrote in the FB post.September 24: Modi will travel to the US. This is his second visit to the country. The earlier one was a major event. Modi and his supporters are working to ensure this one will get more eyeballs than the previous trip. In New York City, Modi will address the UN Sustainable Development Summit for formal adoption of post-2015 new sustainable development agenda.He will also participate in a summit hosted by US President Barack Obama on peacekeeping.
The prime minister will host a summit of G-4 leaders in New York, where the main agenda will be the United Nations Security Council reforms. Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are the G4 nations.
He will be meeting several world leaders and also holding interactions with leading investors and financial sector firms. This will include a working dinner where representatives of major Fortune-500 companies will be present to deliberate on investment opportunities in India, according to a report in The Hindu.
September 26-27: Modi will visit West Coast to participate in several programmes. “It would be after a gap of almost 33 years that an Indian PM would be visiting the west coast – the home of start-ups, innovation and technology,” he said.Modi said he will also be part of a Townhall Q&A at the Facebook HQ along with Mark Zuckerberg, and said it would be an event “you shouldn’t miss”.
“I have already invited you all to share your questions through Facebook or the ‘Narendra Modi Mobile App.’ I will also see some recent technological innovations at the Google (Alphabet) campus and Tesla Motors. I will address a Renewable Energy Roundtable with USDOC and Stanford University,” the PM said.
September 27: IT industry body Nasscom, TiE Silicon Valley, and IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE India will host the first India-US Startup Konnect in the Silicon Valley. It aims to showcase the strengths of India’s startup ecosystem. The day-long event will highlight multiple dimensions of Indian innovation capabilities, represented by more than 30 startups across sectors like agriculture, healthcare, energy, financial inclusion, and biotechnology, as well as leading technology business incubators in the country.
The startups will exhibit products, prototypes and achievements to their investors and other potential Valley partners.
Modi will also interact with the Indian community on the day.

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