Expats are 'brand ambassadors' of India on foreign soil: PM Modi

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Indore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday described Pravasi Bhartiyas as the "brand ambassadors" of India on foreign soil and said they have a significant place in the journey of the country as it enters the 'Amrit kaal' of the next 25 years.

Speaking after inaugurating the 17th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Madhya Pradesh's Indore city, Modi also referred to India's G20 Presidency this year and said it is being seen as a big opportunity to tell the world about the country.

President of the Republic of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi was the special guest of honour and Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali was the chief guest at the event.

"I consider Pravasi Bharatiyas as brand ambassadors and 'rashtra doot' of India on foreign soil. Your role is diverse. You are the brand ambassador for yoga, Ayurveda, cottage industry, handicrafts and also millets," Modi said.

“The nation has entered the Amrit kaal of the next 25 years. Our Pravasi Bharatiyas have a significant place in this journey. India's unique global vision and its important role in the global order will be strengthened by you,” he said.

Referring to the country's strengths, Modi said India not only has the capability of becoming a knowledge centre but also to become the skill capital, which can become the engine of development of the world.

“India has a large number of capable youth today. Our youth have skill as well as values and honesty to work,” he said.

"The GenNext Pravasis are also curious to know about the country of their parents' origin," he said.

The PM also asked universities in India to document contributions made by the diaspora in their respective nations for the benefit of students.

“Migrants from India have settled in different countries for many centuries. The Indian diaspora has made extraordinary contributions in nation-building, we should document their life, struggles and achievements," he said.

"Many of our elders will have many memories of that era. I urge that efforts should be made for an audio-visual and written documentation of the history of our diaspora in various countries through universities,” the PM said addressing the gathering at the Brilliant Convention Centre in Indore.

Talking about India's Presidency of the G20 this year, Modi said, “India is seeing this responsibility as a big opportunity. It is an opportunity for us to tell the world about India."

Today India's voice, its message and words have a different significance at the global stage. This growing power of India is going to increase further in the coming times, he said.

When there are discussions on peace-loving, democratic and disciplined citizens in different countries of the world, then the Indian pride of being the "mother of democracy" increases further, he said while mentioning the role of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the world.

"When the world assesses the contribution of our non-resident Indians, it hears the sound of a strong and capable India," he said.

“We started an extraordinary tradition of global trade centuries ago. We crossed the ocean that seemed limitless. India has shown how commercial relations between different civilizations in different countries can open the way for shared prosperity,” he added.

The prime minister also spoke about the record of developing indigenous vaccines for COVID-19 and providing its 220 crore doses free of cost.

He said India has been included in the top five economies of the world and as the third largest start-ups nation.

Today the whole world is looking at India with great interest and curiosity that what and how the country is doing. The pace of development India has achieved in the last few years and the achievements it has made are extraordinary and unprecedented, he said.

Modi said 40 per cent of the world's digital transactions have happened in India alone. India is counted among the countries with the most advanced space technology, making a record of launching 100 satellites in one go, he said.

While assuring all possible help to the NRIs to protect their interests, Modi appealed to them to keep cultural and spiritual knowledge as well as updated information about the growing potential and progress of the country to share it with the rest of the world.

Whenever an Indian goes to a foreign land and meets a co-patriot, then he feels the entire country met him, he said.

Expressing gratitude towards the guests, Modi said, “I thank the presidents of Suriname and Guyana that they spared time for this programme. The proposals they made are very useful and I assure them India will fulfil on their expectations and suggestions forwarded by them.”

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.

“Recently, the grand and divine expansion of Lord Mahakal's Mahalok has also taken place in Ujjain. I hope all of you will go there and seek the blessings of Lord Mahakal and also be a part of that wonderful experience,” he said.

Lavishing praise on Indore, Modi said the city is not only the cleanliness capital but also the capital of "swaad" (taste) in the country.

Indore is ahead of its time not only in cleanliness but also takes care of its heritage. The delicacies of Indore are mouth-watering and the people who taste them once will never turn to anything else, he added.

The prime minister also released a commemorative postal stamp 'Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen' to underline the importance of safe, legal, orderly and skilled migration.

On the occasion, Suriname President Santokhi said India has proven to be a reliable partner on regional and global platforms.

He sought a partnership (with India) in various fields including health, financial sectors and strengthening cultural ties by "setting up institutes for Hindi language promotion in the Caribbean country."

Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali said, "When globalisation failed during the pandemic, 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.

He said there are massive opportunities for India's private sector in Guyana. He also termed Guyana's economy as one of the fastest growing in the world.

"I visited this country earlier and studied here before becoming the president (of Guyana) and felt the love of Indian people," he added.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said to make the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention a memorable event, a 'Global Garden' was developed in Indore where delegates from 66 countries along with local residents planted saplings on Sunday.

He said Indore city has been decorated and groomed to welcome the guests.

People from Indore were eager to host the NRI guests at their homes instead of hotels. There is an atmosphere of wonderful enthusiasm in Indore, he added.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also addressed the convention.


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