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Welcome Address by External Affairs Minister at the Valedictory Session of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021

January 09, 2021

Respected Rashtrapatiji,
Participants and Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends,

1. It is my privilege to warmly welcome all of you to the Valedictory Session of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in the august presence of the Hon’ble President of India. I am truly grateful to Rashtrapatiji for gracing the occasion. I also thank all those – abroad and in India – who attended the Convention and contributed to its success. I also welcome you all to the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award Ceremony.

2. Our diaspora is an extended family transplanted from the motherland to distant shores. It has now flourished into an evergreen tree, with its lush branches spreading across all the regions and continents. In foreign lands and communities, the Indian diaspora represents the best of our culture, ethos and values. The hard work, discipline and peace-loving nature of Indians have made them role models wherever they have settled. As high achievers, they have enhanced the prestige of India; especially as some have risen to occupy the tallest positions in their country. At this 16th Convention, we had the privilege of being addressed by such personages, the Chief Guest, H.E. President Chandrika Persad Santokhi of Suriname this morning and by Special Guest Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan of New Zealand yesterday.

3. The growing interest of the diaspora in participating in various initiatives and activities is a matter of deep satisfaction. Even amidst the Covid challenges, that enthusiasm has remained very strong. In fact, the difficulties of the pandemic has only brought us all even closer. In run-up to the celebrations, we had organized five virtual PBD Conferences on themes concerning our diaspora such as Culture, Economy, GCC region, Media and the Youth. We are pleased that our overseas friends participated actively in these PBD conferences as well as the plenary sessions today. The deliberations at these sessions provide food for thought as we formulate policy on our national advancement. The address by the Prime Minister, of course, was both an inspiration for the entire diaspora and the country, as well as a direction of the path that India will be taking in its post-Covid recovery. The Valedictory Session today is the culmination of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Celebrations.

4. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians. These awards recognize individuals or organizations for their outstanding achievements in their chosen fields in India or abroad. What they have achieved and how they have contributed, each one of them has enhanced the standing of Indians and India in the world. The award is, therefore, not just a mark of our appreciation but our expression of gratitude for their endeavours.

5. I once again thank all of you for participating at the Convention and welcome all of you to the Awards Ceremony.

Thank you and Jai Hind!

New Delhi
January 09, 2021

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