Modi invokes Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal in address to diaspora in Sweden

Stockholm: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invoked the achievements of pugilist M.C. Mary Kom and shuttler Saina Nehwal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this month while addressing the Indian diaspora here on Tuesday, the second and final day of his visit to Sweden.

Extolling the thought of India, Modi, addressing a gathering of around 2,000 people of Indian origin at the Stockholm University here, said: “The achievements of Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal make our hearts swell in pride.”

While Mary Kom won the gold in the 46-48 kg category in women’s boxing at the Gold Coast games, Nehwal walked away with two golds in badminton.

In a special gesture, Modi made the gathering give a standing ovation to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven who was also present on the occasion.

On his part, Lofven said that more than the Prime Ministers of the two countries getting along well, it was the people-to-people ties that mattered more.

Sweden is home to over 20,000 people of Indian origin, including around 2,000 students.

Earlier in the day, Modi and Lofven held a bilateral summit following which India and Sweden signed a Joint Action Plan and an Innovation Partnership for Sustainability of the Future.

India and Sweden also co-hosted the first ever India-Nordic Summit in which the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Finland also participated.

Modi arrived here on Monday evening on the first leg of his three-nation tour to Europe that will also see him going to Britain and Germany.

This is the first prime ministerial visit from India to Sweden in 30 years after the visit of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988.