Address by External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar at the launch of the website of the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention

Posted on: October 13, 2022 | Back | Print

Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Adarniya Shri Shivraj

Singh Chouhan ji,

Minister of State mananiye Shri. Muraleedharan ji,

Our diaspora friends joining from Missions abroad,

My Namaskar to everybody!

2. The Ministry of External Affairs is very pleased to bring you the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in partnership with the Government of Madhya Pradesh. Since 2015, the Government of India has partnered with a State Government for hosting the PBD Convention to make it an enriching and diverse experience for all participants. Blessed with rich cultural & spiritual heritage, natural beauty and wildlife, Madhya Pradesh, as the Chief Minister just pointed out, is the very heart of India. I thank the respected Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan ji for the initiative and the enthusiasm with which his State has approached the PBD arrangements and we have every confidence that we will get the fullest support of the Madhya Pradesh administration in their successful holding of this endeavour.

3. The migration of Indians around the world occurred in several waves over a long period of time. History records Indian settlers moving across the Indian Ocean as an accompaniment to commerce. Modern period then saw movement of more than 1.5 million Indians to the Caribbean, to Africa, South East Asia and the former French colonies. Subsequent waves include migration of skilled & professional Indians to Gulf and Western nations for work, for business and education.

4. Our people faced several challenges and hardships while making life for themselves in different lands adjusting to local laws, culture, traditions; many times under very difficult conditions. However, with their undying spirit and hard work, our overseas brethren have carved out a place for themselves in whichever area they chose, be it in finance, business art, culture, science, medicine, law, education or politics. Presently, there are over 32 million-3.2 crore overseas Indians, of which nearly 18 million have accepted the nationality of their host countries and 14 million retain their Indian passports. This Diaspora has preserved its Indian culture, heritage & traditions and it is really heartening to see the cuisine, languages, folklore, rituals of India being cherished, upheld and passed down from one generation to another even in far off lands.

5. The Government, under the leadership of our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has accorded highest priority to the Diaspora engagement and it is clearly evident in the plethora of diaspora initiatives taken since 2014. The engagement can be witnessed at the highest level and Prime Minister’s interaction with the diaspora on his tours abroad-I myself was present at the Madison Square Garden- and the all Ministerial delegations outside have a component of active engagement with the overseas Indians. I have myself just come back from such interactions in the United States, New Zealand and Australia in recent days.

6. Our Diaspora engagement policy is founded on the cornerstone of 4Cs – Care, Connect, Celebrate and Contribute - wherein we have greatly invested in all aspects by increasing the welfare schemes and activities and deepening the engagement of diaspora in various events and platforms. We celebrate their achievements with more vigour abroad and the Missions are always prepared to assist Indians abroad in time, in any crisis. The Vande Bharat Mission during Covid stands out as an extraordinary example on scale of this commitment.

7. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is the flagship programme of the Government towards engaging with the Indian diaspora. PBD Conventions provide a platform to overseas Indian community to engage with the Indian Government and people of their motherland. These engagements help everyone in enriching their experiences and knowledge. These Conventions are also very useful in networking among overseas Indians residing in different parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.

8. Twenty years ago, former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji implanted the seeds of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in his embrace of the Indian diaspora spread across the globe. We chose the date of 9th January to host Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention because it commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India that day in 1915 after nearly 20 years as a Pravasi in South Africa.

9. In 2014, the format of PBD was revised in order to revitalise this important institutional event and organise the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas once every two years, and hold thematic Conferences based on subjects of importance to our Diaspora with experts from India and overseas during the intervening period. Since then, 16 editions of the PBD convention have been held. The last one in 2021 was held virtually during the Pandemic.

10. In January 2023, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic and after a gap of four years, we are once again celebrating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in a physical format. The 17th Convention is being organized from 8 to 10 January 2023 very fittingly at Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The theme of this Convention is:

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"Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal”

11. India has been celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on reaching the milestone of 75 years of Independence. We have marked the next 25 years as the golden period of ‘Amrit Kaal’ where-in the Nation will move forward towards achieving resolutions made for Aatmanirbhar Bharat of New India. As the country progresses on that journey, we encourage the Diaspora to become a partner for realization of the Amrit Kaal.

12. The format and structure of the 17th Convention is similar to the previous Conventions having elements of Youth PBD, State component, cultural programmes and Plenaries. The Inaugural Session will be chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and conferment of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards will be done by Hon’ble Rashtrapati ji at the Valedictory Session. The focus is people-centric, as articulated in the themes ‘Harnessing the potential of women diaspora entrepreneurs towards an inclusive approach to nation building’ and on ‘Enabling global mobility of Indian workforce – Role of Indian Diaspora’. There is also focus on the safe migration of workers through "Surakshit Jayen, Prashikshit Jayein” during the Inaugural Session. It has been the commitment of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to highlight the unsung heroes of our freedom struggle. I am happy to inform that during this Convention we will showcase a digital exhibition, for the first time, on the contribution of Diaspora to India’s freedom struggle.

13. Our Missions and Posts abroad have a crucial role to play in the success of the PBD Celebrations. Missions need to enthusiastically and whole heartedly encourage the diaspora communities in their respective countries to participate in the Convention in large numbers. The Missions have responsibility of making this Convention a success, which in turn depends on the footfall of the diaspora members. We shall shortly make the PBD Website go live. Missions and participants can see the details of the Convention and registration packages on the website.

14. I am confident that with the active support of all of you, the 17th PBD Convention will be an important landmark Event in the post –pandemic world. I look forward to the warm hospitality under the leadership of the Chief Minister as we are all arriving in Indore next January.

Thank You very much for your attention.

Jai Hind.