At PIO Parliamentarian Conference, Modi Lauds Efforts of Diaspora in Preserving Indian Culture Abroad

As many as 124 parliamentarians and 17 mayors of Indian origin from 23 countries are in India to attend the PIO Parliamentarian Conference.


An effort to reconnect the diaspora with their ancestral land, the “First PIO Parliamentarian Conference” was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Jan.9 in New Delhi. The participants at the event include legislators and political leaders of Indian origin from all over the world.

As many as 124 parliamentarians and 17 mayors of Indian origin from 23 countries are in India to attend the event, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Calling the gathering a mini world parliament, Modi asked the PIO parliamentarians to play the role of catalysts in India’s economic development. “Twenty first century is being considered the Asian century and India will be a major player in this with the growing stature of our country and you shall feel proud about our growth, hence inspiring us to work even harder,” he said, according to the Times of India. “Today, bodies like the World Bank, IMF and Moody’s are looking at India in a very positive way.”

The event was attended by several Indian origin leaders from many countries, including Mauritius and Guyana. Modi made a special mention of the presence of former Guyanese President Bharat Jagdeo.

The Indian PM noted that India is experiencing aspirational and societal changes and asked leaders to join hands. He added that values of Indian culture and civilization can guide a world that is gripped in instability.

“Your ancestors had to leave India under various circumstances and that is why when you return to an Indian airport, you are reminded of your ties with this country. You have a desire to return to India and I understand your feelings very well,” Modi said, the Hindu reported.

“On one hand, you have preserved Indian culture. On the other hand, your people have excelled in sports, arts, cinema in the global platforms and have contributed to your adopted country’s welfare,” he added.

Calling the diaspora “permanent ambassadors of India,” Modi said that he makes an effort to meet NRIs and PIOs whenever he is on an official tour of a foreign country. “For enhancing our pride and dignity, you all deserve our appreciation,” he said.

Modi also brought up the dialogue with ASEAN countries and how the leaders would be attending the Republic Day parade later this month. He also appreciated External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s work and accessibility on a social media platform like Twitter.

Swaraj, on the other hand, in her opening speech reminded the participants at the conference of the contribution of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the success of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. “A total of 141 lawmakers confirmed their attendance and 134 leaders have made to this event today despite massive weather disturbance,” she was quoted as saying by the Hindu.

The event will feature a session on becoming a leader in an adopted countries and a discussion on Indian origin leaders enhancing India’s global role. “Gandhiji inspired people in Mauritius to get education and increase political awareness and that is why after few generations, they have achieved political leadership,” Swaraj told the leaders from Mauritius.

“This (PIO Parliamentary Conference) is a great opportunity. Everyone is looking up to India for their support. India has a huge influence on International politics,” New Zealand MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said.

Raj Loomba, a Member of House of Lords, UK, said: “India is changing very fast and people overseas are recognizing it. If we give chance to NDA to fulfill their programs, India would be much better. In previous govt, every day there was a scam, but in this govt, I haven’t heard of any.”

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