President: PIO lawmakers bridge the gap between India and the world

RSTV Bureau
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates the international conference of PIO Parliamentarians in New Delhi on January 10, 2018.

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates the international conference of PIO Parliamentarians in New Delhi on January 10, 2018.

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the international conference of parliamentarians of Indian origin in the capital on Wednesday. Parliamentarians from 23 nations are participating in the event.

In his speech, the President asked the PIO (People of Indian Orgin) parliamentarians to link the priorities of their countries with India’s development and see how the two can intersect.

Praising India for providing big opportunities in investment, trade and development, the President said, “…it is important for you to link your individual country’s priorities to India’s development. And to see how these can intersect.”

The President said the PIO parliamentarians were like a living bridge, instrumental in connecting people from different nations.

For the Indian government, engagement with PIO parliamentarians or with the wider Indian diaspora community is not a transactional relationship or a zero-sum game, Kovind said.

“Rather, we look upon the community and look upon you, the PIO parliamentarians and elected and public representatives, as a living bridge,” he said.

They can help build “economic, people-to-people and strategic connections that will be of benefit to both countries and to all of us”, he added.

He also praised India for its pluralism and diversity.

“Indians are proud of our democracy, fabric of pluralism and diversity. This is our greatest strength. And the Indian diaspora has carried such liberal and civic-minded values with it…Instinctively, this has made members of the Indian diaspora contribute to public life in countries that they are citizens of,” he said.

Describing India as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, he said the economy will gallop ahead in the next few decades.

We are also at the cusp of a new India that will achieve certain milestones for our people by 2022, also a year when we will celebrate the 75th year of its Independence, the president said.

“At such a juncture, India offers huge investment, trade and developmental opportunities. And the development of India will be of benefit to not just the 1.3 billion people of India but will be a voice of hope and prosperity and of peace and stability for our shared world and for all the countries you represent,” he said.

Giving examples of successful Indian diapora abroad, the President said, “They (Indian diaspora) are instrumental to the tech start-up ecosystem of Silicon Valley. They form the backbone of the economy of Dubai and other major business cities in the Gulf region. The global financial centres of New York, London and Singapore would simply not be the same without the Indian diaspora.”

“As a country, we are very proud of what our Pravasi Bharatiya brothers and sisters have done. They have embellished the identity of India and of the Indian people all over the world,” he added.