India's quest for 'self-reliance' doesn't mean 'isolation': President Kovind to diaspora in Jamaica

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates Dr Ambedkar Avenue in downtown Kingston.

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates Dr Ambedkar Avenue in downtown Kingston. | Photo Credit: PTI

India is on a “transformational path” and its quest for “self-reliance” does not mean “isolation” but creating capabilities that can help the entire humanity, President Ram Nath Kovind has said, urging the Indian diaspora in this Caribbean country to take advantage of the government’s policies and participate in the country’s growth story.

Addressing the Indian community in Jamaica on Monday, President Kovind, the first Indian President to visit the island nation, said new India offers immense opportunities for all to participate in its progress and prosperity.

“We seek your support to this new India that promises to light up millions of homes with progress and prosperity; an India that cares for one and all,” he said.

“India is on a transformational path. Atmanirbhar Bharat or Self-reliant India is a major initiative taken by the Indian Government,” Mr. Kovind said.

“India’s quest for self-reliance does not mean isolation. Rather it seeks to create capabilities that can help the entire humanity in the true spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means “The world is one family,” he underlined, amidst some criticism in some world capitals of the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy.

“Indian economy is rebounding at a fast pace despite disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are creating new infrastructure to match our fast-paced growth,” he said.

“We are undertaking efforts to take lead in the areas of the digital economy, new technologies, climate change-related action and developing a knowledge society,” the President said.

Mr. Kovind said India and Jamaica continue to enjoy cordial and friendly relations based on shared democratic values, common linkages of history, membership in the Commonwealth, use of the English language and the love of cricket.

He said economic and commercial interactions between the two countries continue to grow despite constraints that include geographical distance.

“However, there remains considerable potential for enhanced trade and investment. Being developing countries and members of various multilateral fora, we share similar concerns and common aspirations for economic growth, eradication of poverty, improvement in the quality of life of people and promotion of equity,” he said.

The President said the bilateral cooperation continued during the Covid-19 pandemic when India reached out with ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines to Jamaica in March last year under its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, besides sending essential medicines and medical equipment.

“Jamaican-Indians strengthen the deep root of our cultural linkages and enrich our multifaceted partnership. The Indian diaspora is a living bridge between our countries,” Mr. Kovind said.

Asserting that India’s external engagement has undergone a sea change in the last few years, he said the government has now brought the diaspora to the center stage of its action and engagement.

“We remain deeply committed to connecting with you and responding to your needs and requirements. We have rolled out several schemes and programmes for our diaspora. We have launched the Pravasi Rishta Portal which connects the 30 million overseas Indians on a single platform. It also offers consular services seamlessly,” the President said.

“We have streamlined and simplified the procedures related to Overseas Citizens of India. There is also a major change in our work culture as seen in the delivery of public service promptly and earnestly. Our diplomatic missions today are mandated to be available round the clock and to help and support you, whenever you need it,” he added.

President Kovind, accompanied by his wife Savita Kovind, arrived in Kingston on Sunday on a state visit. On Monday, he met Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, service, health, railway and transport services and sports.

Inaugurates street named after Ambedkar in Jamaican capital

President Ram Nath Kovind also inaugurated a street named in the honour of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in Kingston in the Jamaican capital and a monument highlighting the work of the architect of India’s Constitution.

The newly-inaugurated avenue is the part of Tower Street in downtown Kingston, according to the Jamaica Information Service, a government agency responsible for disseminating information about government programmes, projects and services.

A monument highlighting the work of Dr. Ambedkar was also unveiled by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie and President Kovind, it said.

“President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated Dr. Ambedkar Avenue in downtown Kingston in honour of Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar,” the President’s office said on Twitter.

On the occasion, President Kovind said, “It fills me with great pride that one of the ablest sons of India has been recognised so far away from his home.”

“Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is formally known as the architect of the Indian Constitution. He introduced progressive ideas for the social and economic empowerment of the depressed classes into the Indian Constitution. Dr. Ambedkar educated and inspired the people towards the goal of removing inequality,” he said.

He noted that some people may wonder about the relevance of Dr. Ambedkar to Jamaica.

“Let us always remember that icons like Dr. Ambedkar and Marcus Garvey cannot be limited to just one nation or community. Their message of equality for all and their appeal to end all forms of discrimination has universal resonance.

“Therefore, Dr. Ambedkar’s message is as relevant to Indians as it is to Jamaicans and to people in every part of the world,” Mr. Kovind said.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 10:25:40 pm |