PM calls upon NRIs across the world to unite as a positive global force in the cause of humanity
Gandhinagar (Jan. 08, 2015): The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today called upon the Indian diaspora across the world to unite as a positive global force in the cause of humanity. In his inaugural address at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, the Prime Minister recalled that exactly 100 years ago, a Non Resident Indian - Gandhi - had returned to India to serve the people. Today, he said, he was welcoming NRIs from across the world as a Non Resident Gujarati.
The Prime Minister said NRIs are present across the world, in more than 200 countries. "India is global because of you," he told the gathering. He said that in the past, Indians had travelled across the world in search of opportunity, or to gain knowledge and exposure. "Today, opportunities beckon you in India," he asserted, adding that today, the world looks at India with hope. He said times are changing quickly, and India is rising with great strength.
The Prime Minister exhorted the Indian diaspora to contribute to India`s success in any way possible, including knowledge, expertise or skills. The Prime Minister mentioned in particular, the Namaami Gange project to clean the River Ganga, and make it a source of economic empowerment for 40 percent of India`s population. He said he was sure all NRIs would be inspired to contribute to this cause.
The Prime Minister welcomed the dignitaries from Guyana, South Africa and Mauritius. He recalled how Indian festivals such as Holi and Diwali are enthusiastically celebrated in Guyana. He recalled that today - January 8th - was the founding day of the African National Congress in South Africa. He mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi`s birth anniversary - October 2 - is observed in Mauritius with even greater vigour than it is observed in India.
The Prime Minister called upon NRIs across the world to forge and take pride in a common identity and heritage, and to use this strength collectively. He said even if a solitary NRI is present anywhere in the world, India is alive and present in that corner of the world through him.
The Prime Minister said he had met representatives of 50 countries since assuming office, and he could say with confidence that rich or poor, all nations across the world, today feel that their goals and objectives can be met in partnership with India. He said this was a rare opportunity, and it was now upto everyone to use this opportunity for the benefit of humanity, and for India`s benefit.
The Prime Minister said the world was showering affection on India, as was evident from the fact that a record 177 nations out of 193, had co-sponsored India`s resolution on International Day of Yoga at the United Nations.
The Prime Minister said he firmly believes that NRIs are a big strength of India, and India can make a global impact by reaching out to them. The Prime Minister said he was happy to announce that he had fulfilled all promises made to NRIs, such as lifelong visa for PIO cardholders, merging of PIO and OCI schemes, visa on arrival for 43 countries, and electronic travel authorization.
Contribution of Indian diaspora
Minister for External and Overseas Indian Affairs, Ms Sushma Swaraj in her welcome address said the 25 million strong Indian diaspora has become a unique force in the world culture. She said, the government is keen to work closely with the Indian diaspora and welcomed the investors and professionals to partner with India. “I promise, it will be a mutually rewarding experience”, she added.
Recalling India’s close ties with nations having significant population of people of Indian origin, Ms. Sushma Swaraj said , Mauritius calls itself a ‘chhota Bharat’ and celebrates its national day on March 8, the day when Mahatma Gandhi began his historic Dandi March. The Minister informed that the government is setting up a monument of arrival of indentured labour in Guyana. She also mentioned about India’s close bilateral relations with South Africa, the other ‘karm-bhoomi’ of Gandhiji, which is also the partner country at the Vibrant Gujarat summit. Ms. Swaraj said her Ministry’s doors are open to all for any assistance.
Chief Guest Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana and Guest of Honour, Ms. Maite Nkona Mashabane, South African Minister for International Affairs Relations and Cooperation also spoke on the occasion and stressed upon close bilateral ties their countries shared with India. President of Guyana recalled the influence the Indian Independence Movement had in shaping political and economic destinies of other colonial countries. Referring to India’s growing economic clout, Mr. Ramotar urged India to provide leadership to other developing countries, who have no voice, to realize their potential. Stressing upon the need for reforming the UN system, Mr Ramotar said “the global struggle for equality continues”. Ms.Mashabane claimed Mahatma Gandhi to be the national hero of South Africa, as much he is of India. She expressed South Africa’s keenness to deepen ties with India in the fields of Information and Communication Technology, health care and clean energy.
Ms. Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat said that her state is elated to be the partner state of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India. She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to fulfill the dreams of Mahatma through various schemes like Swachch Bharat, skill India etc. She extended a warm welcome to the diaspora delegates and invited them to absorb the culture and ethos of Gujarat.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the ‘Dandi Kutir’ museum located opposite the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The three storey exhibition, housed in a dome shaped structure, traces the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi through various faces – as barrister, his struggles in South Africa, return to India and successfully leading the freedom struggle. Depiction of Gandhiji breaking the salt law after the Dandi March is a major draw. Key concepts of Gandhian thoughts like Satyagraha, non-violence, self reliance, gram swaraj are elaborately explained through a number of exhibits. There is also an audio-visual presentation of milestone incidents of the Indian Independence Movement. The contents of the museum are expressed through a combination of traditional and contemporary media.
Nearly 4,000 delagates from 44 countries are attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015 in Gandhinagar. A mega exhibition spread over 1.1 million sq ft has also been organized as part of the programme.