Speaking at the first 'PIO Parliamentarian Conference' on Tuesday at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra at Chanakyapuri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi heaped praise on India and people of Indian origin.
"No matter where they are, I believe your ancestors will be very happy to see you all here. Everyone Indians go, they integrate into the diaspora. They take up the culture, sports and the other everyday things of their surrounding environment," said Modi.
Talking about the pride India feels, he said, "Your achievements 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."
Keeping in mind the needs of 21st century, the government is increasing the investment in technology, transportation: PM Modi at PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) Parliamentary Conference in Delhi pic.twitter.com/xcCJmKCucK
— ANI (@ANI) January 9, 2018
Turning to India, Modi said the country had developed rapidly in the last few years. "India is changing. We are ranked high on the World Competitiveness Index, Logistics Performance Index and other such indices. Organisation like World Bank, IMF, Moodys all look at India positively. Sectors like air transport, mining, computers, electrical equipment have all seen enormous investment in the last three years. Our motto is 'Reform to Transform'. We want transparency and freedom from corruption. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has eliminated multiple taxes across the country. There is no sector where we have not brought reforms. India is a young State, and the government is working for its youngsters. Multiple schemes are in place for them," said Modi.
Modi then spoke about the the developing infrastructure in the country. He said that new railway lines and national highways are being built. Where the shipping industry had zero growth earlier, now it is up to 11 percent, Modi added.
"We believe in 'Vaasudev Kutumbakam'. The values of Indian culture and civilisation can guide a world gripped in increasing instability. On my suggestion, World Yoga Day was celebrated on such a large scale. We are the first responders in a crisis. In Yemen, we saved not just our citizens but also people from 48 other countries. 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. We don't have an interest in exploiting anyone's resources or taking away anyone's territory," said Modi.
Modi then turned to the relationship between Indian and the attendees. "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," said Modi.
He ended his speech by thanking them for taking out the time and coming to the conference. He said that he hoped to meet them next year as well.
Over 140 MPs and mayors in attendance
Over 140 Indian origin MPs and mayors from 23 countries converged in New Delhi as part of the conference which was inaugurated by the prime minister. The conference seeks to boost ties with these countries by leveraging the diaspora links, secretary (consular, passport, visa and overseas Indian affairs) in the MEA, Dnyaneshwar M Mulay, had said earlier.
Mulay had said invitations were sent to 30 countries after getting feedback on diaspora presence there from various Indian missions, of which 23 confirmed participation. "A total of 141 public representatives from these countries are scheduled to participate. 124 MPs from the UK, Canada, Fiji, Kenya, Mauritius, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and other countries are slated to take part. Besides, 17 mayors, including from the US, Malaysia, Switzerland, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are also scheduled to join the day-long event," he had said.
The event will have two thematic sessions, the first one will have as special guest senior Congress leader and chairman of the parliamentary committee on external affairs, Shashi Tharoor. The session will be presided over by deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The second session will have Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar as special guest, while deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha will be chairing this.
There will also be tourism, cultural and sightseeing activities for the visiting members. Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu will close the conference during the valedictory session along side Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jan 09, 2018 12:46 PM