Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asserted that he used every moment during his six-day tour across three countries for India's good as BJP workers and supporters accorded him a warm welcome on his return.
Addressing people who had gathered to welcome him outside the Palam airport here, he noted that not only Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and that country's ruling party functionaries but a former prime minister and opposition members were present as well during the Indian community's programme in Sydney where he had spoken.
"This was the atmosphere of democracy that everyone joined in the Indian community's programme," Modi said, lauding this show of "democratic soul and strength".
Everyone accorded respect to the Indian representative, and it was not about Modi's glory but about India's strength, he added.
His comments came against the backdrop of opposition parties, including the Congress and many of those in power in several states, announcing their boycott of the new Parliament building's inauguration by him on Sunday.
The prime minister, though, made no direct mention of this in his speech.
He said he speaks confidently of India and its people's strengths abroad and the world listens because people here elected a majority government.
World leaders know that what he says is the voice of the 140 crore people of India, the prime minister added.
India, he said, faces the challenges of strengthening its roots while also working its way to a new high as the world expects it to.
"Challenges are big. But it is in my nature to challenge the challenges," the prime minister said, exuding confidence in front of a cheering crowd that his government will succeed in meeting these expectations in time.
Global expectations from the country have been rising, he said, adding that the world now wants to know what India is thinking.
Modi spoke about the respect accorded by the people of Pacific island countries during the visit, and said they were thankful to India for the COVID-19 vaccines sent to them during the pandemic.
Taking a swipe at his critics, the prime minister said they questioned him for sending the vaccines.
"Remember, it is the land of Buddha, it is the land of Gandhi. We care even for our enemies, we are the people inspired by compassion," he underlined.
He also asserted that the world is keen to listen to India's story and said Indians should never suffer from a "slave mentality" while speaking about their great culture and traditions and instead speak with courage.
The prime minister added that the world agrees with him when he says any attack on our country's pilgrimage sites is not acceptable.
Modi had on Wednesday raised with his Australian counterpart Albanese India's concerns over incidents of attacks on temples in Australia.
He lauded the strength of India-Australia relationship.
India's reception of G20 delegates in over 150 meetings held across the country have impressed the world a lot, he said.
"All the leaders and other people I met have been so mesmerised and appreciative of India holding the G20 presidency so excellently. This is a matter of great pride for all Indians," Modi said.
Earlier, BJP president J P Nadda and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also spoke and heaped praise on Modi's leadership for India's rising image and prestige in the world.
"The world is looking at a new India with a new perspective due to Modi's leadership," Jaishankar said.
The External Affairs Minister said Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, whose gesture of touching Modi's feet made headlines, told the Indian ambassador that he considered the Indian leader "vishwa guru".
Jaishankar, a career diplomat who retired as India's foreign secretary before joining the BJP and becoming a minister, also referred to the Australian prime minister describing Modi as "the boss" and asserted that he never saw something like this in his experience spanning over nearly 45 years.
India's image and standing have gone so high because of Modi's leadership, he said while recalling US President Joe Biden's comments about the high demand for invitations to the events where the Indian prime minister will be present during his state trip to the country next month.
Biden said he wanted Modi's autograph and praised the prime minister's leadership.
Nadda lauded Modi's efforts to establish Indian values and traditions globally and said people of India feel proud about it.
Modi had visited Hiroshima in Japan to attend the Group of Seven or G7 Summit. He then travelled to Papua New Guinea, a first tour to the Pacific island country for any Indian prime minister. Modi also travelled to Sydney at the invitation of his Australian counterpart.