Indian Diaspora a Platform for Strong India-ASEAN Ties: Sushma Swaraj in Singapore

We have immense resources in the form of our diaspora in Southeast Asia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said during Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Singapore.


Relationship between India and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become a strategic partnership, External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj said during the two-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) celebrations held on Jan. 6-7 in Singapore.

“We are here to reaffirm our commitment and to share the course of our journey ahead to the future of India and ASEAN in the world,” she said during her address to the 3,000-strong gathering of delegates from the Indian community. “Our diaspora provides a platform for a stronger relationship between India and ASEAN countries,” Swaraj, who visited Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, before heading back for the PBD event in New Delhi that’s scheduled for Jan. 9, added.

Speaking about the diaspora, Swaraj said: “Wherever I have gone, I have been told a few things about Non-Resident Indians – Indians are good neighbors, Indians are hard working people, Indians are law abiding citizens. This fills me with immense pride.”

The theme of the event, which consisted of bilateral meetings and display of Indian technology and culture, was “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN India Partnership.”

“We have immense resources in the form of our diaspora in South-east Asia, to be the bridge for a new journey on an ancient route,” Swaraj said at the event, which was also attended by Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari.

Swaraj credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the recognition that India is receiving across the world. “The increasing dominance and reputation of India in the world is because of the personality of Prime Minister Modi,” she said. “In whichever country he goes, he makes strong individual friendship in addition to establishing good relations between two countries.”

Singers Sonam Kalra and Raghu Dixit also performed during the event in Singapore while veteran actor-director Satish Kaushik took a masterclass as part of the ASEAN India Cinefest.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi

New Delhi will host a PIO (person of Indian origin) parliamentary conference consisting of 124 parliamentarians of Indian origin from across the world as part of the PBD celebrations on Jan. 9. There are 270 parliamentarians of Indian origin across the world, of which 70 are ministers, speakers and even prime ministers.

“We are not sending invitations for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to any SAARC country except Sri Lanka,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

Six million Indian citizens abroad and persons of Indian origin live in 10 ASEAN countries.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated annually on Jan. 9 to commemorate the day in 1915 when Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. The event is marked with cultural events and bilateral meetings with foreign leaders held at New Delhi and all the Indian diplomatic missions across the world.

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