– PM Modi tells MPs of Indian origin
Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Shrimati Sushma-Swaraj told Guyanese and other parliamentarians of Indian origin at a world gathering on Tuesday, January 9, that the ancestral homeland was proud of their achievements.
Some 141 MPs and Mayors (chairs of regional bodies) were invited to a conference and reception in New Delhi, India. The conference was held at the Pravasi Bharatya Kendra, which was built for overseas Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs).
The meeting was organised by the External Affairs Ministry under the leadership of Shrimati Sushma-Swaraj and inaugurated by PM Modi. Attendees included Government Ministers, the Vice President of India, Ambassadors in Delhi and other dignitaries.
There are some 280 PIOs sitting in Parliaments of various countries, many of whom are Ministers or Heads of Governments. The present PMs of Portugal, Ireland and Mauritius are PIOs. Only sitting MPs and Mayors were invited to the Delhi meet.
Some 141 Indian origin MPs and Mayors from 23 countries accepted the invitation to attend the conference called to boost ties between India and the countries where the MPs are domiciled. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was among some 24 who attended from Guyana. The cost was borne by India.
The forum allows the MPs to connect with their past in India and contribute to the growth of ‘new India’. Besides, it will also help India have more friends in foreign countries rooting for its interest. The Indian Government believes that increasing engagement with the MPs will help India with having more advocates for its cause on various issues on the global stage. The Diaspora has been a very active and strong advocate of India’s cause. It was noted, for example, that the Indian Diaspora has played an important role in pushing for India-centric policies in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
Modi told the MPs: “Your achievements (as legislators in your countries) are a point of pride for us. Even when you are nominated for political office anywhere, we are very happy. You affect geo-politics and the world and frame laws. Indians watching these developments are very happy to hear about your achievements.
“No matter where you are, I believe your ancestors will be very happy to see you all here. Everywhere Indians go, they integrate into the Diaspora. They take up the culture, sports and the other everyday things of their surrounding environment,” Modi added.
He added: “Whenever I travel, I like to meet people of Indian origin. I have met many of you like this. The reason is that you are permanent ambassadors of the country. My government has tried to connect to Indians overseas and solve their problems. Earlier, we had different schemes and ministries, but now it is all integrated under the External Affairs Ministry. Sushma Swaraj is working for you constantly. Overseas residents can help us in many ways. You send remittances and we are thankful for that. You can also invest in India. We know your experience is important for the betterment of India. You can take India to the world. We want to be with you when you succeed.”
He reminded the gathering of the greatness of Indian culture. “We believe in ‘Vaasudev Kutumbakam’ – the world is one. The values of Indian culture and civilisation can guide a world gripped in increasing instability. On my suggestion, World Yoga Day (adopted by the UN) was celebrated on such a large scale.”
And on aiding the world, the PM informed the gathering that India was among the first responders in a crisis. ?In Yemen, we saved not just our citizens but also people from 48 other countries by lifting them out of the war-torn country. Indian soldiers laid down their lives in World War I and World War II even though the country did not have any economic interest in the wars. Our relationship with a country is not based on give and take, it is based on humanity.”
Modi thanked the MPs for taking time out of their busy schedule and coming to the conference. He said that he hoped to meet them again next year at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD).
Before the PM spoke, the External Affairs Minister also showered praises on the MPs. (Vishnu Bisram)