Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that it was extremely important for the entire country to have a language that can serve as India’s identity globally. Shah made the remark in a tweet on the occasion of Hindi Divas, or Hindi Day.

“India is a country of various languages and each of them has its own importance,” Shah tweeted. “However, a single language is extremely important for the whole country, one that can become India’s identity globally. If there is one language that can do the job of uniting the country today, then it is only the most-spoken language of Hindi.”

Shah urged all citizens to promote the use of their mother tongues and also use Hindi to fulfil the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Speaking at a Hindi Divas event in Delhi later, Shah said that every child will be taught Hindi in the North East, The Hindu reported. “I was in Guwahati last week, I heard that many people are hiring private tutors to teach Hindi to their children,” he said. “The Centre has decided that we will teach them Hindi.”

“Diversity of languages and dialects is strength of our nation,” he said, according to ANI. “But there is need for our nation to have one language, so that foreign languages don’t find a place. This is why our freedom fighters envisioned Hindi as Raj bhasha.”

He also said that today a Hindi-medium student cannot speak for 40 minutes in Hindi, The Hindu reported. “There is so much influence of English on us that we cannot talk in Hindi without its help,” he said. “School students should be asked to speak in Hindi.”

September 14 is celebrated as Hindi Divas to mark the anniversary of the day in 1949 when the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi as the official language of India. Hindi is the mother tongue of 43.6% of the Indian population, or nearly 53 crore Indians, according to the 2011 census. It is followed by Bengali, which is far behind at 8.03%. Globally, Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world.

In a Hindi Divas event in 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind had asked Hindi speakers to give space and respect to regional languages across the country.

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