Singapore: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday attributed India's fast-growing 'reputation' and 'dominance' across the world to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The increasing dominance and reputation of India in the world is because of the personality of Prime Minister Modi. In whichever country he goes, he makes strong individual friendship in addition to establishing good relations between two countries,” said Swaraj at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Singapore.
Praising the Indian diaspora across the world, she added, “Wherever I have gone, I have been told a few things about Non Resident Indians - Indians are a good neighbor, Indians are hard working people, Indians are law abiding citizens. This fills me with immense pride.”
Speaking about Jawed Ashraf, the Indian ambassador to Singapore, Swaraj said, “Your ambassador Jawed Ashraf, sitting here, is an epitome of sensitiveness. He reaches whenever and wherever an organisation of any community or religion calls him. All organisations celebrate their festivals accordingly. India is a land of festivals.”
“Kerala celebrates Onam, Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal, Bengal celebrates Durga Puja, Assam celebrates Bihu, Punjab celebrates Baisakhi and Telugu community celebrates Ugadi, Gujarat participates in Garba while Maharashtra celebrates Ganes Utsav. Holi, Diwali, Eid and Christmas are the festivals of the entire India. Wherever Jawed (Ashraf) be called, be it a temple, mosque or a church, he not only comes there but also celebrates it enthusiastically,” said Swaraj.
Reaffirming India's commitment to ASEAN, Swaraj said that India's dialogue partnership with the organisation has evolved into a strategic partnership and the Indian diaspora provides a platform for stronger ties with the grouping.
"We are here to reaffirm our commitment and to share the course of our journey ahead to the future of India and ASEAN in the world," Swaraj told some 3,000 delegates.
"Our diaspora provides a platform for a stronger relationship between India and ASEAN countries," she said.
"As India's economy grows its ties will deepen, its trade and investment flow will grow,” she said, emphasising that ASEAN was a part of India's Act East Policy.
ASEAN is India's 4th largest trading partner, accounting for 10.2 per cent of India's total trade. India is ASEAN's 7th largest trading partner. Trade is back on track and registered an 8 per cent increase in 2016- 17, as compared to the previous year.
With agency inputs
New Delhi will host a commemorative summit on January 25 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dialogue Partnership between India and the ASEAN in which all the leaders of the grouping are expected to participate.
ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam