Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday concluded his three-city tour of Canada, the first stand-alone visit by an Indian prime minister in 42 years. "My best wishes on behalf of the 1.2 billion Indians to 1.2 million Indian diaspora in Canada," Modi said in Vancouver. "I have been able to turn India's attention to Canada. Barriers have now turned into bridges," he said.
"It is not the distance you travel, but destination that you seek. It is for these reasons that this will be a memorable visit for me," PM Modi said in his address to an audience with most Indian diaspora.
"It is not a historical visit because an Indian PM has come here after 42 years, but because even after these 42 years, the interval just melted away in a moment," Modi said.
Modi visits Vancouver gurudwara, temple
Earlier, Modi, accompanied by his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper, visited the Khalsa Diwan Gurudwara and the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Vancouver. At the Khalsa Diwan Society's Sikh Gurudwara, located on the southern edge of Vancouver, a large crowd of supporters gathered at the temple before filing inside.
An official of the historic Sikh society said Modi will be the third Indian prime minister to visit, after Jawaharlal Nehru's visit in 1949 and Indira Gandhi's sojourn 42 years ago.
Modi described the reconstruction of the gurudwara at Lakhpat in Gujarat during his tenure as chief minister. "The gurudwara at Lakhpat, where Guru Nanak had stayed for 15 days, had been damaged in the 2001 earthquake, and had been reconstructed successfully," he said.
In his remarks at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, the Indian prime minister thanked Harper and the people of Canada for the warm welcome and hospitality they had accorded to him.
Noting that the United Nations had recently adopted June 21 as the International Day of Yoga with 177 countries co-sponsoring India's resolution, he said yoga had great potential to help the world overcome the stress of modern life, and urged people to spread this message.
With the address in Vancouver, Modi wrapped up his three-nation visit and left for Frankfurt on his way home. Modi began his nine-day sojourn from France on April 9. He then travelled to Germany, from where he flew to Canada. He visited the Canadian cities of Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.