February 2015 \ Diaspora News \ COVER STORY
Diaspora’s strength can be driving force for India: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 8, 2015 said that every NRI is like a “shakti” and if the strength of the entire diaspora can be consolidated, it could become a driving force for India’s progress.

Addressing the inauguration of the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin, Modi also said that he has fulfilled his promise to the diaspora of merging the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards. He exhorted the diaspora to come and contribute to India’s success in any way possible, including knowledge, expertise or skills. He mentioned in particular, the Namaami Gange project to clean River Ganga, and said 40 percent of India lived by and survived on the river. He said he was sure all NRIs would be inspired to contribute to this cause.

Modi said the world is ready to “embrace India” and cited as an example the fact that his proposal at the UN to institute an international yoga day was supported by a record 177 nations and in just 100 days. “We have a lot to give to the world, we only lack the confidence,” he said, calling upon NRIs across the world to forge and take pride in a common identity and heritage, and to use this strength collectively. He said even if a solitary NRI is present anywhere in the world, India is alive and present in that corner of the world through him or her.

Modi said he had met representatives of 50 countries since assuming office in May last year, and he could say with confidence that all nations rich or poor across the world today feel that their goals and objectives can be met in partnership with India. He said then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had proposed the idea of starting a PBD and it was begun in 2003.