TIME 100 2015 Narendra Modi
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Narendra Modi

Apr 15, 2015

As a boy, Narendra Modi helped his father sell tea to support their family. Today, he’s the leader of the world’s largest democracy, and his life story—from poverty to Prime Minister—reflects the dynamism and potential of India’s rise.

Determined to help more Indians follow in his path, he’s laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change. Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern—a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a “digital India.”

When he came to Washington, Narendra and I visited the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in our countries is a strength we have to protect. Prime Minister Modi recognizes that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world.

Obama is the 44th President of the United States

An Indian Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
A Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.Kevin Frayer—Getty Images
An Indian Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
An Indian Muslim woman votes at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters of BJP leader Narendra Modi run as a helicopter carrying Modi takes off after a rally on May 10, 2014 in Robertsganj, near Varanasi.
Supporters of the Congress Party stand in fron of a poster showing Rahul Gandhi and his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi as they wait before a rally on May 10, 2014 in Varanasi.
Veiled Muslim supporters of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal wait for his convoy to pass during a rally by the leader on May 9, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters run passed a banner showing BJP leader Narendra Modi at a rally by the leader on May 8, 2014 in Rohaniya, near Varanasi.
BJP leader Narendra Modi gestures to supporters while driving through the streets on May 8, 2014 in Varanasi.
Muslim residents watch the convoy of BJP leader Narendra Modi as he drives in the street on May 8, 2014 in Varanasi.
BJP leader Narendra Modi greets supporters as he is surrounded by bodyguards while driving through the streets on May 8, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters of BJP leader Narendra Modi cheer during his speech at a rally by the leader on May 8, 2014 in Rohaniya, near Varanasi.
Buddhist monks from the Drukpa lineage hold their voting cards as they wait outside a polling station to vote near the Hemis Monastery on May 7, 2014 in Hemis, Ladakh.
Ladkahis wait inside a polling station to vote near the Thiksey Monastery on May 7, 2014 in Thiksey, Ladakh.
Ladkahis wait outside a polling station to vote near the Thiksey Monastery on May 7, 2014 in Thiksey, Ladakh.
Indian security force soldiers on election duty sit in a bus as they leave a central collection point to head for a polling station, on May 6, 2014 in Leh, Ladakh.
Indian security force soldiers on election duty wait to leave a central collection point to head to secure polling stations, on May 6, 2014 in Leh, Ladakh.
Villagers and supporters listen to a speech by BJP leader Narendra Modi at a rally on April 27, 2014 in Sidhuali near Lucknow.
A disabled boy wears a mask of BJP leader Narendra Modi as he walks past a police checkpoint at a rally by Modi on April 25, 2014 in Bathinda, Punjab.
An Indian Sikh man wears a mask of BJP leader Narendra Modi as they crowd to hear his speech on April 25, 2014 in Bathinder, Punjab.
Transgender Candidate Hijra Guru Baseer Kinnar aka Kamala Kinnar speaks to a resident while campaigning in a Muslim neighbourhood on April 23, 2014 in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.
AAP leader and anti-corruption activist Arvin Kejriwal is surrounded by police bodyguards as he greets supporters from an open jeep on his way to file his nomination papers on April 23, 2014 in Varanasi.
Supporters of India's ruling Congress Party listen during a speech by leader Rahul Gandhi during a rally on April 20, 2014 in Mumbai,.
A supporter of India's ruling Congress Party wears a mask of leader Rahul Gandhi during a rally on April 20, 2014 in Mumbai.
Indian women wait to vote at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Indian women wait to vote at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
An Indian woman casts her ballot at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
An Indian woman casts her ballot at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
Indian women arrive to vote at a polling station on April 17, 2014 in the Jodhpur District in the desert state of Rajasthan.
An Indian family listens as Rahul Gandhi, leader of India's ruling Congress Party speaks at a rally on April 6, 2014 in New Delhi.
A Muslim voter waits in line to vote at a polling station on May 12, 2014 in Varanasi.
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