Indian envoy highlights govt’s initiatives for diaspora

Indian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar yesterday highlighted the Indian government’s initiatives and programmes for its continuous engagement with members of Indian diaspora all over the world.

He made these comments at a ceremony where the High Commission of India in Brunei Darussalam organised the screening of the inaugural session of the virtual 16th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) Convention by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at its chancery.

Over 60 members of the Indian diasporas were present.

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said the convention is part of a tradition that began two decades ago, when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji envisioned a comprehensive framework for Pravasi outreach.

The success of Pravasis abroad is a source of immense pride for all of us, he added.

In his keynote address, the guest of honour President of Republic of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi said that India and Suriname are bonded at many levels – historically, religiously, linguistically and culturally.

Indian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar delivers his speech at the event. PHOTO: INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, said that although the Internet has connected all the Indians abroad with India, their hearts were always associated with their motherland and they are also connected with affinity for each other.

PBD is celebrated on January 9 every year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community in the development of India. .

The convention is the flagship event for the Indian government’s engagement with the Indian diaspora all over the world. This year, the convention is themed ‘Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Prior to the 16th PBD Convention, five pre-PBD conferences were also organised virtually from December 9, 2020 to January 8, 2021 including ‘Role of Diaspora in promotion of Indian Culture Abroad’, ‘Targetting USD5 trillion Aatmanirbhar Bharat Economy by boosting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)’; ‘India and the Gulf: Leveraging energy partnerships, Investment opportunities and emerging technologies for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘India and the Gulf: Skill sets of the future for Indians in the Gulf’; ‘Forging media and entertainment partnerships to showcase [email protected]’; and ‘PBD Conference on Youth’.

The Indian Diaspora constitutes a significant economic, social and cultural force in the world today. Overseas Indians estimated at over 28 million are spread across the world. Over the years, they have emerged as a successful and respected community on account of their industry, enterprise, education, expertise and economic acumen.

In January 9, 1915, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa and led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.