Kochi: Asserting that as India continues to grow and its external engagement increases, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday assured that Pravasi Bharatiyas will continue to remain close to Indian hearts, as they are partners in the national effort, and serve as vital links to the outside world.
Addressing the11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, Dr. Singh said: "Let me assure you that as India continues to grow, as our external engagement increases and as we assume higher international responsibilities, Pravasi Bharatiyas will continue to remain close to our hearts, as partners in our national efforts and as vital links to the outside world.
"I also believe that the overseas Indian community should be a vital partner and participant in India`s social and economic development. Whether you wish to invest or share your knowledge, technology and skills, whether your enterprise takes you to the cities or your compassion brings you to a remote village, I assure you of our continuing effort to support your endeavours," he added.
Stating that over the ages, the relationship between Pravasis and Bharat has taken many forms, Dr. Singh said: "One of its most glorious manifestations has been their contribution to India`s independence movement. Nearly a hundred years ago, almost to this day, Mahatma Gandhi returned to lead a nation`s march to freedom.
"This year, we are celebrating the centenary of the Gadar Movement, which was a luminous spark of support in distant California for the struggle for independence being waged at home in our country," he added.
Emphasizing that post-independence, overseas Indians have served as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and their adopted homes abroad, Dr Singh said: "Regardless of whether they are successful professionals, traders and entrepreneurs, or second generation Indians, comfortably reconciling their two identities, or workers toiling hard to build a future for their families, they are at all times a most effective window for the world to India`s heritage and its progress."
"We in the Government will do all that is possible to deepen their connection with India and advance their interests. While honouring their achievements, we will also seek to facilitate their travel, business and education and make it easier for them to be a part of life in India, enjoy due rights and participate in India`s economic development," he added.
He further said: "As the Indian expatriate community develops a more global presence, they also become more vulnerable to economic crises, conflicts, civil unrest or just senseless hate crimes. At a time of turbulence in many parts of the world, the safety and security of overseas Indian communities are uppermost in our minds."
"We derive comfort from the assurances that we have received from governments in the countries of your residence that they will do everything for your safety and security. We recognize that the primary responsibility rests with the host countries, but when needed, as was the case last year in Libya, our government will provide prompt and necessary assistance," he added.
"Apart from physical safety, we are also concerned with the social and emotional well-being of our overseas brethren. We have therefore launched an insurance scheme for workers, established welfare funds in our embassies for distressed Indians, and created mechanisms to help vulnerable women abroad," he said.
"This protection and promotion of the rights and interests of Indian businesses, professionals and workers abroad is also a key task for our Missions in various countries. Our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements and Social Security Agreements with a number of countries play an important role in this regard," he added.
Lauding Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag, who was chief guest on the occasion, Dr. Singh said: "President Purryag`s record of public service over four decades and his many achievements are a source of great pride for people of Indian origin across the world. Your presence in Kerala today, reminds us of the deep civilizational, linguistic, cultural and religious ties between India and Mauritius."
"I am very thankful to you, for accepting our invitation to be the Chief Guest at this year`s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. We are also extremely grateful to the Government of Mauritius for its support to the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention held in Port Louis in October 2012," he added.