India is for your ‘interests and expectations’, PM Modi tells overseas Indians 

Be the ‘rashtradoots’ of India’s heritage, says the PM at the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore

January 09, 2023 02:06 pm | Updated 08:24 pm IST - Indore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore on January 9, 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore on January 9, 2023. | Photo Credit: Screengrab via YouTube/Narendra Modi.

India will nurture and protect its diaspora spread across the world, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 9. Inaugurating the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention in Indore, Mr. Modi urged members of the diaspora to become representatives of “India’s heritage”. He termed every overseas Indian a “Bharatvanshi” and promised the government’s support for his or her well-being.

“In the last eight years, India has tried to strengthen its diaspora. It is India’s commitment today that wherever you are, the country is for your interests and expectations,” he said arguing that the “lives, the struggle and the contributions” of the “Pravasi Bharatiyas” in their respective countries should be chronicled through “universities and research institutions”. 

Mr. Modi said the diaspora represented a “powerful and capable India” adding that the diaspora could help introduce India to the world. He asserted that the “ancestors” of contemporary Indians paved the way for “India’s cultural expansion” in other parts of the world. 

“You are the Rashtradoots [national ambassadors] of India’s heritage, of Make in India, of Yoga and Ayurveda, of India’s cottage industries and handicrafts. At the same time, you are also the brand ambassadors of India’s millets,” said Mr. Modi urging delegates at the convention to try and take some of the millet products back home. He mentioned that 2023 had been declared the “International Year of Millets”.

Mr. Modi highlighted India’s strengths in space technology and counter-pandemic initiatives that included the “Make in India” vaccines. He drew attention of the delegates to the preparatory meetings for the G-20 summit in September 2023 and said, “G-20 is not just a diplomatic event but it should be turned into a historic event of public participation where one can witness the sentiment of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava.’”

He urged the young members of the diaspora to visit India and forge closer bonds with their country of origin, adding, “With traditional understanding and modern approach, these young Pravasis will be able to tell the world about India more effectively. With increasing curiosity about India among the youth, tourism, research and glory of India will enhance.”

Mr. Modi also said Madhya Pradesh has a number of natural sites, including the Narmada River, and the recently developed Mahakal Lok at the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain, and urged the diaspora to visit them.

The theme of the PBD Convention being held between January 8 and 10 is “Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal”. According to a government press release, around 3,500 diaspora members from nearly 70 different countries have registered for the ongoing PBD Convention. Earlier, during the event a commemorative stamp on the theme “Surakshit jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen” was launched to highlight the importance of “safe legal, orderly and skilled migration”.

The event was addressed by Surinamese President Chandrikapersad Santokhi who also held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Modi. The Ministry of External Affairs informed that the two leaders discussed several areas of cooperation, including “hydrocarbons, defence, maritime security”. The Prime Minister thanked Special Guest of Honour, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana, for his speech at the convention.

Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who was the chief guest at the event, in his address said, “When globalization failed during the pandemic, Mr. Modi showed that it exists." He recalled India's help in providing COVID-19 vaccines and medicines to various countries and termed India as an important strategic partner.

The convention will be addressed by President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday when 27 overseas Indians will be honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, recognizing their contribution to various spheres of service in their respective countries. Apart from the guests External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan also addressed the event on Monday.

( With inputs from PTI.)

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