"I am fortunate that my countrymen, who are staying here thousands of miles away from their country, have raised the status and respect of India. There was a time when our country had an image of snake charmers. Had you not been there, had there been no Indian youth, the miracle you have created in the field of information technology had that been not there, then the world would have still been known as a country of snake-charmers," Prime Minister Modi told thousands of Indian Americans and Americans at the Madison Square Garden here.
Prime Minister Modi, who addressed the gathering in Hindi, also used the occasion to share his personal experience of his visit to Taiwan earlier.
"I was given an interpreter. For the few days, he maintained the protocol, but then he opened up, and asked me 'does black magic still exist in India or are there still snake charmers?" he said.
"I said our forefathers used to play with snakes, now we play with the mouse. When we move a mouse, the whole world moves," added Prime Minister Modi as the crowd burst into laughter and loud cheers and chants of "Modi, Modi".
Reaching out to the Indian-American community, Prime Minister Modi said: "It is you who have played a major role in shaping a positive image of the country, not just in America, but also those people who are from other nations residing in the U.S. and in different parts of the world."
The Prime Minister, who began his address with 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', also greeted the gathering on the occasion of Navratri.
"I am fortunate to have this opportunity to meet you on such an auspicious occasion," he said.