Modi receives Seoul Peace Prize, makes veiled attack on Pakistan

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In a veiled attack on Pakistan on cross-border terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that time has come for the global community to join hands to completely eradicate terrorist networks and their supply channels and to counter terrorist ideology.

Modi made the remarks in his acceptance speech at the Seoul Peace Prize and announced that he will donate the prize money of Rs 1.30 crore to the Namami Gange mission.

The Prime Minister said that radicalisation and terrorism are the biggest threats to global peace.

“Like Korea, India has also suffered the pain of cross-border strife. Our endeavour towards peaceful development has only too often been derailed by cross-border terrorism. While India has been the victim of cross-border terrorism for over 40 years, all nations today face this grave threat which respects no borders.

“The time has come for all those who believe in humanity to join hands to completely eradicate terrorist networks and their financing, supply channels, and to counter terrorist ideology and propaganda. Only by doing so can we replace hate with harmony, destruction with development, and, transform the landscape of violence and vendetta into a post-card for peace,” he said.

India has linked Pakistan to the last week’s terror attack in Pulwama which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Modi said the Seoul Peace Prize was established to mark the success and spirit of the summer Olympics held in Seoul in 1988 and noted that the games were an important landmark in world history.

“The 1988 Olympics were held at a time of many changes in the world. The Iran-Iraq war had just ended. The Geneva accords relating to the situation in Afghanistan had been signed earlier that year. The Cold War was ending, and there was great hope that a new golden age will soon dawn,” he said.

Modi said he was accepting the award on behalf of people of India and it belongs to the success that India has achieved over the past five years due to the strengths and skills of 1.3 billion Indians.

The Prime Minister said the award was recognition of the philosophy that has given the message of Vasudhev Kutumbakam (the entire world is one family) and, referring to Gita, noted that it is for the culture that has given the message of peace even on the battle-field.

Modi, whose speech was received with applause by the audience, recited the Sanskrit Mantra which says “may there be peace everywhere in the sky in space, all over our planet, in nature, may there be eternal peace”.

He said the world was better in many aspects than it was in 1988. Global poverty has fallen and healthcare and education outcomes have improved but many challenges remain.

He said a few months before the Seoul Olympics, the first public warnings about climate change were sounded and it is recognised as a big threat to humankind.

“A few weeks before the Seoul Olympics, an organisation called Al Qaeda was formed. Today, radicalisation and terrorism have become globalised and are the biggest threats to global peace and security,” he said, adding that millions of people still remain without adequate and quality access to food, shelter, health-care, sanitation, power, and dignity of life.

He said the solution to the hardships lies in hard work and India is doing its part.

Modi said India is the fastest growing large economy in the world with strong economic fundamentals and its growth and prosperity will contribute to global growth and development.

India, he said, has also been in the forefront of the collective fight against climate change, has also partnered to launch the International Solar Alliance and was committed to making a peaceful, stable and economically inter-linked world.

Modi said India has been landing of peace for ages and is one of the most diverse countries.

“We are proud that ours is a society based not only on tolerance but on the celebration of differences and diverse cultures.”

He said progress over the past year towards peace on the Korean peninsula has been heartening and lauded the role of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “I state again my government’s strong support to the ongoing dialogue process between the two Koreas and between the USA and DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea),” he said.

Referring to a Korean saying, “a good beginning is half the battle won”, he expressed confidence that peace will soon prevail on the Korean Peninsula.