Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai for the first time after retaining power in this year’s Lok Sabha polls.

“Always delighted to be back in Chennai. After 2019 elections, it is my first visit to the state. I am really thankful to all of you for such a warm welcome,” he said on his arrival.

Addressing a gathering at the Chennai International Airport, PM Modi said that “Tamil has become a talking point in the US” after his UN speech.

“During my USA trip when I said something in Tamil, when I told the world that Tamil is the world’s ancient language, the language became a talking point in America,” said Modi.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, PM Modi had quoted Sangam-era Tamil philosopher Kaniyan Pungundranar to underline that a fragmented world is in nobody’s interest.

He said the world has “great expectations” from India, and asserted that his government will lead the country to a path of ‘greatness’ where it will be beneficial to the entire globe.

“During my US tour I saw the world has great expectations from India, which is growing… we will certainly ensure the welfare of India, and swiftly, but we will make it such a great nation that it will be useful for the world,” the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister also reiterated his campaign against single-use plastic.

Making the country great was not just the job of the Central government, but also its 130 crore citizens, he said.

Modi is in Chennai to address the 56th annual convocation of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

He will also participate in the prize distribution ceremony of Singapore-India Hackathon and do a walkthrough of the exhibition on IIT-Madras research park start-ups.

PM Modi’s appreciation of Tamil comes at a time when the opposition in Tamil Nadu has objected to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitch to make Hindi India’s official language.

Shah’s comments created a huge uproar with several opposition parties slamming him for trying to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.

Earlier this month, the DMK had argued that Tamil was more suited to be made the common language for India.