Raising the pitch for India's permanent seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday night said the days of "begging" for it are gone and India has the "right" to be in the powerful world body considering its exceptional contribution to global peace.
He also asked the world to "recognise" the "immense opportunities" for business in India as he invited investments and technology from across the globe for which he wanted countries to compete.
Addressing a congregation of NRIs in Paris, his last public event before winding up his three-day tour of France on Sunday, Modi said India had made lot of sacrifices for world peace since World War I and even after the UN was founded.
"It has been the largest contributor to the peace-keeping forces across the world", he said.
"Still, India continues to yearn for a (permanent) seat in the UN Security Council. I urge the world, it is time to respect the peacekeeping efforts. It is the right of the sentiments of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha. Those days are gone when India had to beg. Now our nation wants its right," he told the gathering of about 3,000 Indians amid chants of "Modi, Modi".
"There is hardly any other country which has such moral authority as the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha. I hope that when the United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary (this year), it will especially think about this," the Prime Minister said.
India has been pitching for a permanent seat in the expanded membership of the UNSC, arguing that the existing body does not truly reflect the contemporary world realities.
To buttress his point, Modi referred to his visit earlier in the day to a war memorial in Lille region of France set up as a tribute to about 10,000 Indians who got martyred while fighting alongside France in World War I.
Modi said he wanted to send out a message to the world to realise that Indians have been ready to sacrifice their lives for peace since as long as one century.
"I want the world to know that 14 lakh Indians put their lives at risk by participating in the World War I...Who were they fighting for? Not for India or expansion of India ...Thousands of years of India's history is testimony to the fact that it has never indulged in aggression," Modi said.
"Indian soldiers fought shoulder-to-shoulder with France...They fought for somebody else," he added.
"Sometimes, history is forgotten. Those who forget history will lose their right to write one," he said, adding that, "India is known for its sacrifices...One can fight for oneself, but to die for others is different", he further said.
"There should be a change in the way world looks at India. This is such a country which gives sacrifices for others," Modi said.
"The biggest contributors to world peace are Indian soldiers," he said.
The Prime Minister also assured the Indian diaspora that India will take care of them even though the "colour of their passports" might have changed.
"The colour of your passport might have changed, but the colour of your blood and my blood remains the same. I will take care of you on the basis of our DNA," he said.