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PIO Parliamentarians a Living Bridge

International Conference of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Parliamentarians, a milestone event, organised by Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad, Bharat in association with the PIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, was held in New Delhi on January 9, 2018, in which 140 elected public representatives, from MPs to Mayors from 23 countries are participated. The day itself marks the return of Mahatma Gandhi, a Pravasi Bharatiya, to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915. Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad had hosted the first such get-together of PIO parliamentarians with participation of 34 PIO parliamentarians from eight countries in November 1998, which was inaugurated by India’s then Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressing inaugural session of the PIO-Parliamentarian Conference termed it as a Mini World Parliament of Indian origin and stated that:

  • PIOs are today Prime Ministers of Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland.
  • PIOs have also been Heads of State, and of Government in many other countries
  • PIOs are like permanent ambassadors of India, wherever they reside, and he always attempts to meet them when he is travelling abroad
  • Global impression about India has changed over the last three to four years and the reason for this is that India is transforming itself.
  • The hopes and aspirations of India are at an all-time high and signs of irreversible change are visible in every sector.
  • The values of Indian civilization and culture can provide guidance to the entire world, in an era of instability.
  • Praised External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for continuously keeping an eye on issues being faced by Indian citizens abroad, and mentioned the “MADAD” portal for real time monitoring and response of consular grievances.

President Shri Ram Nath Kovind addressing the conference said, it is a tribute and celebration of a very contemporary, very accomplished and very high-achieving community – estimated 30 million strong Pravasi Bharatiyas in over 100 countries of which about 13 million are PIOs and some 17 million are Non-Resident Indians or NRIs. We look upon the community and look upon you, the PIO parliamentarians and elected and public representatives as a living bridge. You have a role in enhancing understanding between your countries and the country of your parents and ancestors. And in helping build economic, people-to-people and strategic connections that will be of benefit to both countries and to all of us. Today, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The next few decades are likely to see our economy gallop ahead. We are also at the cusp of New India, an India that will achieve certain milestones for our people by 2022, when we celebrate the 75th year of our Independence. 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.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj urged the legislators and political figures to consider what kind of contribution they could make for India’s global ambition.

Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananth Kumar, addressing the 2nd Plenary Session on ‘Resurgent IndiaRole of PIO Parliamentarians’; invited the august gathering of PIOs to partner in the development of their Motherland India. Flagship schemes of Government of India such as Skill India, Start-up India, Stand up India, Make in India etc. provide a great opportunity for PIOs to partner in India’s resurgence as a global power.

Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu in his key note address at the Valedictory Session mentioned that Indian diaspora has contributed enormously to strengthening India’s cultural, literary, political and economic bonds across the world. He urged each country and the United Nations to build a global consensus against terror in all its forms so that we can focus our energies and resources on the welfare of our peoples.

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