'Discussions on global growth cannot happen among few'

Discussions on global growth cannot happen among few, table must be bigger: PM Modi

Modi also called for keeping humanism at the core of policies

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI

Asserting that growth patterns must follow a human-centric approach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said discussions on global growth cannot happen only among a few as the "table must be bigger" and the agenda broader.

The prime minister's remarks at the the 6th Indo-Japan Samwad Conference assume significance as they come at a time when India has been pushing for reformed multilateralism at the UN and other global fora, calling for representation reflecting contemporary realities.

Modi, in his message at the conference via video link, said hostility will never achieve peace, and in the past, humanity took the path of confrontation instead of collaboration.

"From Imperialism to the world wars. From the arms race to the space race. We had dialogues but they were aimed at pulling others down. Now, let us rise together," Modi said.

Lord Buddha's teachings command the strength to turn the discourse from enmity to empowerment and his teachings also make us large-hearted, Modi said.

"They (Buddha's teachings) tell us: learn from the past and work towards a better future. This is the best service we can do for our future generations," he said.

Noting that this is the first Samwad of a new decade which is happening at a critical moment of human history, Modi said, "Our actions today will shape the discourse in the coming times. This decade and beyond will belong to those societies that place a premium on learning and innovating together."

It will be about nurturing bright young minds who will add value to the humanity in the times to come, he said.

Learning should be such that it furthers innovation, which is the cornerstone to human empowerment, he said.

Underlining that societies that are open minded, democratic and transparent are better suited to innovate, Modi said now is the time, more than ever before, to change the paradigm on what we see as growth.

"Discussions on global growth cannot happen only between a few. The table must be bigger. The agenda must be broader. Growth patterns must follow a human-centric approach. And, be in harmony with our surroundings," he said.

Modi also called for keeping humanism at the core of policies.

"We must make harmonious co-existence with nature as the central pillar of our existence," he said.

In his address at the conference, the prime minister also proposed the creation of a library dedicated to traditional Buddhist literature and scriptures.

"We will be happy to create such a facility in India and will provide appropriate resources for it," he said.

The library will collect digital copies of all such Buddhist literature from different countries, he said.

It will aim to translate them, and make them freely available for all monks and scholars of Buddhism, Modi added.

"The library will not only be a depository of literature. It will also be a platform for research and dialogue - a true Samwad between human beings, between societies, and between humans and nature," he said.

Its research mandate will also include examining how Buddha's message can guide our modern world against contemporary challenges, Modi said.

The prime minister noted that "we began this series of conferences with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe" and since then, the 'Samwad' has travelled from New Delhi to Tokyo, from Yangon to Ulaanbaatar.

"In this journey, it has remained true to its fundamental objectives: To encourage dialogue and debate; to highlight our shared values of democracy, humanism, Ahimsa, freedom and tolerance; and, to carry forward our ancient tradition of spiritual and scholarly exchanges," Modi said, thanking the Japanese government for their constant support to 'Samwad'.

"About three weeks ago, I was at Sarnath. Sarnath is where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. This Jyoti Punj emerged from Sarnath spread across the world embracing the values of compassion, nobility and above all, 'Manav Kalyan', the good of entire humanity. And gently, peacefully, it changed the course of world history," Modi said.

It was in Sarnath that Lord Buddha spoke in detail about his ideal of Dhamma which for him was more than prayer and rituals, the prime minister noted.

"At the centre of Dhamma are humans, and their relation with fellow humans. Thus, it is most important to be a positive force in the lives of others. Samwad should be one that will spread this spirit of positivity, unity and compassion across our planet. That too at a time when we need it the most," he said.

The essence of Samwad remains togetherness, he said, noting that Samwad brings out the best in us.

"This is the time to draw upon our ancient values and prepare for the times to come. We must keep humanism at the core of our policies. We must make harmonious co-existence with nature as the central pillar of our existence. Samwad, a dialogue with ourselves, with fellow human beings, and with nature can light our way on this path," he said.