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Modi uses concert to invoke youth power, send peace message

Using an unusual platform of a star-studded rock concert, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today praised youths for their “can do” attitude which has the power to transform India and the world.

Wearing a blue Nehru jacket over a white kurta, Modi began his speech in English. “How are you doing New York? I hope you are having a good time.”

Addressing nearly 60,000 people gathered at Central Park here for the Global Citizen Festival, Modi said he was delighted to be among the youth at an open park and not inside a closed conference room.

Amid performances by Jay Z, Beyonce and other singers, Modi was introduced to the crowd by actor Hugh Jackman as someone who started as a “tea salesman” and went on to become Chief Minister of Gujarat and then Prime Minister of India with a huge mandate.

After a seven-minute speech in English, Modi also read out a Sanskrit scripture calling for “peace in the world” and greeted the largely American crowd with a “Namaste” amid cheers and claps.

He also sent his “Namaste” to those watching the concert on “TVs, laptops, tablets and phones”, becoming the first Indian politician to send across a social message from a music concert.

“Because you are the future. What you do today, will decide our tomorrow. I feel a current of hope in this park. Among you, I feel confident about the future,” the 64-year-old Indian Prime Minister said while referring to youths.

“I salute you. I feel proud, of each one of you. I am sure, your families, your friends, your nation, feels just as proud,” he said.

Hailing the Global Citizen movement to end poverty and provide education and basic sanitation to all, Modi said, “Some believe that the world changes with the wisdom of the old. I think that the idealism, innovation, energy and ‘can do’ attitude of the youth is even more powerful.”

“That is my hope for India too (for) 800 million youth joining hands to transform our nation,” he added.

Modi said he decided to come to the festival to extend his support and to express his belief that youth of India can join them in this global effort.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon also attended the concert.

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