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PBD 2015: Diaspora achievers ready to share responsibility to give a fillip to India's development effort
The Indian expatriate community, the world's second largest, has acquired a very significant global profile through the dint of hard work and sincerity of purpose in their host countries, said Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs at 13th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2015.

While chairing the Plenary Session2: Achievers of Indian Diaspora at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas yesterday,Sushma Swaraj, according to a statement issued by FICCI, said that from professionals to entrepreneurs and community leaders who project India in the right perspective and advance its interests abroad, overseas Indians have served as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and their adopted homes.

At the session, some of the prominent Indian expatriates shared their success stories and experiences. They said that good practices could be shared between the prominent overseas achievers and stakeholders in the Indian government and identified ways to enhance cooperation between businesses in India and those in the country where these achievers were based.

Showkutally Soodhun, Vice Prime Minister, Mauritius, said that it was an emotional moment for him as his maternal grandfather hailed from India and visiting Gujarat was like homecoming. He added that with hard work and dedication, he was able to carve a niche for himself in the political sphere of another nation, and now wanted to deepen the bond between Mauritius and India.

Utama S Samy Vellu, Special Envoy of Prime Minister of Malaysia on Infrastructure to India and South Asia, who leads a 250-strong delegation from his country, said that India needs to revamp its tertiary education, subsidize cost to promote cutting-edge research and development, develop a conducive ecosystem, promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'Make in India' and most importantly make emigration norms flexible to accelerate India's economic growth. He added that the Indian Diaspora had a major role to play and must come forward to share the responsibility.

Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, Member of House of Lords, The United Kingdom, said that the Diaspora was a powerful force and had immense potential to make an important contribution to India's development.

Kanwaljit Bakshi, Member of Parliament, New Zealand, said that when the Diaspora succeeds, the country succeeds. Many Indians were doing exceptionally well in New Zealand and Hindi was the fourth most spoken language in the country. New Zealand, he said, wanted to collaborate with India and should not be seen as a competitor.

Councillor Sunil Chopra, Mayor of Southwark, London Borough of Southwark, The United Kingdom, said that the Diaspora has been contributing in the growth of India but a lot needs to be done to make their contribution more meaningful.

Bhishma K Agnihotri, Former Ambassador-at-large, said that the Diaspora should focus on India's rural development instead of token development. He urged them to take up a project and strive to make India a clean, progressive and forward-looking country.

Ashok Mago, Founding Chairman, US-India Chamber of Commerce for Trade & Investments, USA, suggested that sharing of best practices across sectors and aggressive lobbying at various international platforms would help India to move ahead at a faster pace.

Pars Ram Punj, Chairman, Parsram Group of Companies, Australia, said thatIndia was experiencing a wave of optimism and was embarking on a journey to make the country corruption-free, which speaks of good governance.

Dr. RajindreTewari, Chairman, Europe India Business Council for Trade and Investment, the Netherlands, said that a more robust political intervention was needed on India's part to facilitate greater trade and business with other countries.

Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, President, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), USA, stated that hisassociation'smain aim was to provide quality healthcare at an affordable cost. Since India too needs expansion of low-cost healthcare cover for all, there are abundant opportunities for collaboration between the two nations.

While narrating his life experiences,Hans Hanoomansingh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Communications, Trinidad and Tobago, said thatthecontribution of the Indian Diaspora, especially labourers and people who work for low wages merit appreciation as they have been working hard and have earned respect for the country.

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