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Shekhawat urges NRIs to showcase India's concern
January 10, 2003 15:22 IST
Describing parliamentarians in foreign countries who are of Indian origin as the "most authentic" channel for building a strong relationship between governments and people, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat said on Friday that India expects them to enhance her image in the comity of nations and make others cognisant of her concerns.
"As parliamentarians of your respective countries, you are all in a privileged position to influence the policies and public opinion of your countries," he said addressing the Second International Conference of Parliamentarians of Indian Origin, where Mauritian Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth was the chief guest.
"India, your motherland, expects of you to enhance her image in the comity of nations, to make others cognisant of her concerns and also to disseminate her traditional values of universal peace, common brotherhood, and friendship and cooperation between nations and people," he said.
Commending the Indian democracy, he cited his own journey from being a farmer to becoming the country's Vice President as an example of its strength.
"I was a farmer who toiled with my own hands. I never believed I would become a member of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha, then Chief Minister and now Vice President," he said.
Appreciating the contributions made by the Persons of Indian Origin in expanding India's democratic frontier, he said the very fact that there were 300 parliamentarians of Indian origin in different countries was confirmation of this.
Terming terrorism as one the most formidable concerns, he said: "We are not only the victims of terror, but also of negative and insidious propaganda. Our diaspora, especially the people's representatives can make the international community aware of India's inherent strength and potential."
Addressing the gathering, Jugnauth, who was first elected as Member of Parliament in 1963, said, "The fight for political liberty had been a long and arduous struggle for all of us."
He said in the process of social upliftment, emphasis was needed on education and women have to be given the "fullest" opportunities to join the political arena. "More often, although being in majority in their countries, women are in fact under-represented in most Parliaments."
Speaking in Hindi, he called for a pledge for harmony and stronger democracy and better human rights record.
"As political leaders of Indian origin settled in different parts of the world, we have a sacred duty and a moral obligation to uphold the universal principles of truthfulness, transparency, moral rectitude and commitment to democratic values," he said.Speaker of the Mauritian Parliament P Ramnah said, "India has always treated us as its children and never been insensitive to us."
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas