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We are one family: Dr Singh
Ramananda Sengupta in New Delhi | January 07, 2007 14:35 IST
So declared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he inaugurated the fifth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Sunday morning at the packed Convention Center of Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan.
"That is why..." Dr Singh continued, "I have often said that while the sun has set on all great empires of the world, the sun will never set on the world of the Indian Diaspora.'
The audience erupted into applause. PBD aims to re-connect some 25 million Indians living abroad.
After lauding the achievements of the Indians abroad and noting the deep bond they shared with country of their origin, Dr Singh had a 'special word of thanks for the Indian American Community in the United States. We are happy that the US has adopted legislation that will enable the US to engage in Cooperation with India in the field of civilian nuclear energy.
"I thank the overseas Indian community and its leaders who played a very significant role in highlighting the importance of this initiative in the US and elsewhere," he said.
He also thanked the non-resident Indians in West Asia and other parts of the world for the handsome contribution their remittances make to the strengthening of our economy.
The chief guest of the event, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Dr S Jayakumar, Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the minister for overseas Indians Vayalar Ravi, The President of the Confederation of Indian Industry R Seshasayee, and the secretary, Ministry of overseas Indian Affairs Nirmal Singh.
In her welcoming remarks, Chief Minister Dikshit urged the Diaspora to help build a 'city of our dreams, a heritage city, a city of opportunity.'
Ravi, in his address said that his ministry was making every effort to become a nodal point for all Indians abroad, to listen to their grievances and to help them connect with their country of origin.
The chief guest, Dr Jayakumar, who is actively involved with the Indian community in Singapore, spoke of india's central role in east Asia. But a stable east Asia needs stable India-China relations, and expressed happiness that both nations had agreed that the region was big enough for both of them.
While India had a 'natural and central' right to play a key role in east Asian architecture, he warned that it had to stay on the course of reforms and nurture relations with key players in the region and the world, he said.
An FTA between India and China would be a visionary step, though it was unlikely to be achieved soon, he said.
The prime minister concluded his speech by declaring that 'our success will have a profound influence on the course of human civilisation in the 21st century. I invite you to be active participants in this saga of great adventure and enterprise.'
In his remarks at the end of the session, the CII chief Dr Seshasayee said, "It is a great time to be an Indian, and a great time to be in India."