Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a mega 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' townhall event at New Delhi's Talkatora stadium on Sunday, with 5000 people including senior Cabinet Ministers in attendance at the venue.
With less than two weeks to go for the crucial Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi answered a range of questions posed to him by people in the crowd, broaching key political topics.
During the course of the interaction, one of the questions he was asked was:
"We have been hearing for years that we are a developing country when will be one of the developed nations?"
In response, the Prime Minister said:
"First of all, I wish to congratulate you on this good question. The dream of becoming a developed nation has to occur in the heart of the common man. It is seen in this question that such a wish has occurred and faith has been entrusted on a man who can make this possible.
It is true that it has been too late. It would have happened if after attaining independence, we had channelized our patriotism and energies in this direction under proper leadership. Just like other smaller countries who had achieved freedom after us, but have attained developed status.
India has everything to become developed, there is nothing lacking. We have the desire and a population of 125 crores which wishes that we should not be counted as a backward nation.
In the last 5 years of governance, you would have noticed that in important decisions regarding global issues our opinion has been heard. When I assumed office in 2014, we were the 11th richest country in the world. You would be surprised to know, that the Finance Minister of the previous govt, who think he is the most intelligent and there is no one as smart as him, had said in a parliamentary session that be should be happy that we have achieved 11th rank economically. I didn't celebrate and now we have become the 6th richest economy.
We are approaching quickly towards the 5 trillion dollar club and will achieve it soon. Nowadays when I talk in different states, I ask them if they can envision their country becoming a trillion dollar economy? And what are the steps they are taking to achieve it? I have created such an atmosphere in the country and this has to be continued. We have wasted a lot of time in India-Pakistan. I say let them fix their deaths, we should move forward.
We should aim at joining among the developed countries. We have recently become a space power. I am not sure how many Indians understand the significance of this achievement. By the achievements in outer space, the might of the nation has increased. When athletes win gold medals and scientists win Nobel prizes, the might of the nation increases. In all walks of life, we have matched the bar set at a global level. As we are continuing to work in all such fields, you will see that India has everything to achieve developed status. And once this wish has occurred in the heart of the common man, we will definitely achieve this dream."