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Diaspora are our face to the world and champion India’s cause on the global stage, says Kovind
New Delhi, January 10, 2021
Describing the Indian diaspora as “our face to the world”, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that they championed the country’s cause on the world stage.
Addressing the valedictory session of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention via video conferencing, Kovind said, “Our diaspora is our face to the world, and champions India’s cause on the global stage. It has always come to India’s aid, whether it is for advocacy regarding international issues of concern to India or contributing to the Indian economy by way of investments and remittances.”
He said it was on this very day in the year 1915, Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi Bharatiya (overseas Indian), returned to India. "Gandhiji gave a wider base to our social reforms and freedom movement, and during the next three decades, he changed India in many fundamental ways," he said.
Kovind said that, before that, during his two decades of stay abroad, Gandhiji had identified the basic principles underlying the approach India should adopt for its growth and development. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was an occasion to recall Gandhiji’s ideals for individual and collective life, he said.
"Gandhiji’s emphasis on Indianness, nonviolence, ethics, simplicity and sustainable development remains our guiding principles,” he added.
“We are indebted to (then Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose vision re-energised the links with our diaspora. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations started in 2003 when he was the Prime Minister. Atalji’s initiatives have proved immensely helpful in strengthening the engagement of diaspora with the motherland," he said.
The President noted that India has one of the largest diaspora populations of nearly 30 million, residing in every corner of the world today. “You have spread the soft power of India and made your mark on the global stage. Your continued emotional attachment to India, its culture and traditions make all of us very proud of you. You have been contributing to the growth and development of the countries of your residence and, at the same time, you have been carrying your Indianness in your hearts. This emotional bonding has also translated into tangible gains for India. You have expanded India’s global embrace.”
Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the year 2020 has been the year of a global crisis caused by the novel coronavirus disease. India has been at the forefront in forging a global response to combat the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic, he said.
“We supplied medicines to nearly 150 countries, making the world look at India as the ‘pharmacy of the world’. The recent success of our scientists and technicians in developing two COVID-19 vaccines is a major achievement for the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which is driven by the spirit of global well-being,” he added.
The President said the seeds of an AatmaNirbhar Bharat was sown many years ago by Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Swadeshi and Self-reliance. “Our vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat has five key pillars of the economy, infrastructure, demography, democracy and supply chains. Successful integration of all these factors will help achieve rapid growth and development,"he said.
The President said that the idea of AatmaNirbhar Bharat did not mean self-centred arrangements or turning the country inwards. “It is about self-belief leading to self-sufficiency. We intend to contribute towards mitigating disruptions in global supply chains by enhancing the availability of goods and services. The Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan of India would make the world order more just and fair, promoting greater cooperation and peace. Our diaspora has an important role in the realization of India’s global aspirations,” he added.