First PIO Parliamentary Conference marks a new dimension
Auckland, January 10, 2018
The Indian government took its ‘closer engagement with the Indian Diaspora’ to a new level on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 with the inauguration of a Conference with Parliamentarians of Indian origin from various parts of the world.
An External Affairs Ministry initiative, primarily that of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Conference brought together 120 lawmakers from 23 countries.
Not all of them were elected members of Parliament but comprises elected representatives of people into local governments as well.
The New Zealand delegation comprised Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar (National List) and Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Labour List) and Kapiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan, an Indian of Malaysian origin.
India at heart
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that while many people may have left India over the course of hundreds of years, India continues to have a place in their minds and hearts.
“It is not surprising that people of Indian origin have integrated themselves fully with their adopted lands. While they have kept the Indian-ness alive in themselves, they have also imbibed the language, food, and dress of those countries,” he said.
Describing the assembly as a ‘Mini World Parliament of Indian Origin,’ he said Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) are today Prime Ministers of Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland and that
PIO have also been Heads of State and Heads of Government in many other countries.
“The global impression about India has changed over the last three to four years because 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,” he said.
Mr Modi said that Ms Swaraj has been continuously keeping an eye on issues faced by Indian citizens abroad. The ‘MADAD’ portal for real time monitoring and response of consular grievances has been active, he said.
“We believe that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are partners in India’s development. NRIs have an important position in the Action Agenda till 2020, drafted by the NITI Aayog,” he said.
Mr Modi said that the values of Indian civilisation and culture can provide guidance to the entire world, in an era of instability.
“India has very close ties with ASEAN countries, which will be showcased during the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2018,” he said.
India on Tuesday reached out to lawmakers of Indian origin spread across the world seeking support for its emerging status as a global power.
Ms Swaraj had two dimensions- the present situation and the past struggle; and what the PIO Parliamentarians can do to promote the emerging India on the global scene.
Narendra Modi addressing delegates attending the first PIO Parliamentary Conference in Delhi on January 9, 2018 (Picture from Press Information Bureau, Government of India).