President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the International Conference of PIO Parliamentarians, being organised by Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad – Bharat in association with the PIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, in New Delhi today.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the Indian diaspora has climbed to appreciable heights in almost all the countries where it has found a home. It has contributed to the well-being of that country and of that society – enriching the economy and adding to intellectual wealth and local culture. Members of the Indian diaspora work hard on farms in countries as far apart as Italy, Bolivia and Tanzania. They are instrumental to the tech start-up ecosystem of Silicon Valley. They form the backbone of the economy of Dubai and other major business cities in the Gulf region. The global financial centres of New York, London and Singapore would simply not be the same without the Indian diaspora.
The President said that as a country, we are very proud of what our Pravasi Bharatiya brothers and sisters have done. They have embellished the identity of India and of the Indian people all over the world. They have also remained true to Indian culture and retained a strong and commendable bond with their roots, even when living thousands of miles away. If Indian cuisine and Indian films have a global market today, it is because the diaspora has taken them to distant lands.
The President said that for the Government of India, engagement with PIO parliamentarians – or indeed with the wider Indian diaspora community – is not a transactional relationship or a zero-sum game. Rather, we look upon the community and look upon PIO parliamentarians and elected and public representatives as a living bridge. They have a role in enhancing understanding between their countries and the country of their parents and ancestors. And in helping build economic, people-to-people and strategic connections that will be of benefit to both countries and to all of us.
The President said that as PIO parliamentarians, as those in public life in their systems who have the best understanding of India, it is important for them to link their individual country’s priorities to India’s development. And to see how these can intersect.