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Identity of diaspora derived from how closely it is connected to its roots: Jaishankar

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Indore:  External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said the identity of a diaspora is very much derived from how closely it is connected to its roots and India’s efforts have been to encourage easier exposure to its culture and traditions.

Addressing the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) programme in Indore as part of the three-day PBD convention, Jaishankar said India has the largest diaspora in the world and many are most talented.

“So what is perhaps unique about us is the intensity of the bonding between the community abroad and the motherland. And that is a two-way strait that is promoted particularly by activities like PBD,” he said.

Jaishankar also recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the diaspora on a previous occasion where the latter had said “hamara to khoon ka rishta hai, passport ka nahi” (we have a blood relation and not that of passport).

“Today, we are here because of this relationship,” the minister said.

“This one phrase, I think captures the entire complexity of relationships that we have today with 34 million people of Indian origin and Non-Resident-Indians (NRIs) and that is what brings us all here (India) every two years,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs Minister Anurag Thakur and Australia’s Member of Parliament Zaneta Mascarenhas, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, also addressed the event.

Jaishankar also said the youth living outside India have many more opportunities than before to stay connected with the country.

“It is a matter of pride for us that centres of faith are growing abroad and serve the purpose of inculcating values, promoting culture and nurturing traditions. I think the one in Abu Dhabi has attracted particular attention of the people,” he said.

The minister said the identity of a diaspora is very much derived from how closely it is connected to its roots.

“Our efforts have been to encourage easier exposure (for diaspora) to Indian culture and traditions. Many of our embassies, in fact most of them, offer yoga, dance and music classes and we have asked them to support and facilitate community functions and collective activities,” he said.

Jaishankar said they have also gathered here as India marks the 75th year of Independence and prepares for the next 25 years.

“This is an era where we are increasingly confident about our prospects and when we seek to connect with the Indian community and international community,” he said.

“And that is why I am particularly glad to see the guest of honour (Zaneta Mascarenhas) today is from our own Indo-pacific partner Australia,” he said.

The External Affairs Minister also said the government is joining hands with different countries to ensure the youth of Indian origin get a safer and non-discriminatory environment abroad and better workplaces are developed for them.

“We are working hard to develop better workplaces for young Indians abroad, to provide them with a safer travel experience and ensure non-discriminatory treatment,” he said.

He said the government recently partnered with Germany, Denmark, Portugal, France and the UK on migration and mobility to provide a better a environment to Indian youth abroad.

The government has recently signed a “working holiday” programme with Austria and the Australian government has offered a more liberal environment for Indian professionals, he added.

Jaishankar expressed hope that in the coming days, some more countries will liberalise the provisions for granting visas to Indians and ensure better working conditions for them.

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