Modi At Madison Square Garden: Indian Prime Minister Takes Center Stage At ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi headlined Madison Square Garden Sunday, capping off a busy weekend in New York. Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly Friday and spoke at the Global Citizen Festival, which drew a crowd of more than 50,000, at Central Park Saturday.

The New York Times said Modi received a “rock star’s reception” in New York after having his visa revoked by the U.S. State Department in 2005 for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed more than 1,000 people.

The crowd was warmed up by “Bollywood-style” acts, the Associated Press reported. Modi’s speech at Madison Square Garden covered ways to improve India’s economy, government transparency and an optimistic outlook for the future of the country. Modi also discussed practical concerns for India, such as cleaner conditions and the construction of millions of toilets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We will do our best to bring change and development in India. We assure you that the government will not do anything to defame India,” Modi said during his speech.

Modi’s tone was optimistic as he discussed change, the youth culture of India and the expectations for the government following his landslide victory in May. The prime minister said India could succeed as it has democracy, youth and demand, the combination of which is unique to the country, reports WSJ.

India’s Mars mission was also a topic during Modi’s speech. At a cost of just $74 million, the Mangalyaan satellite entered Mars’ orbit Wednesday. “India is the first country in the world which made it to Mars in its maiden attempt and America and India are even talking in Mars,” Modi said.

Modi’s speech drew hundreds of protesters and nearly 1,000 watched the speech at Times Square, the AP said. Modi is to meet with President Barack Obama Monday.

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