Jaishankar invites diaspora to be part of India's efforts to build stronger capabilities

NEW DELHI: An India with greater capacities can be an additional engine of growth for the global economy and it will always be a “trusted partner and a reliable supplier” in line with international norms, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said as he invited the Indian diaspora to be part of the country’s efforts to emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.

In an address 9 January, at the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Jaishankar said the objective of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) initiative is to build greater capacities and enhance the country’s contribution to the world.

Hailing the Indian diaspora community, the external affairs minister described it as an extended family “transplanted from the motherland to distant shores”, adding that it has now “flourished into an evergreen tree, with its lush branches spreading across all the regions and continents”.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated to recognize the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the growth and development of the country. January 9 was chosen as the PBD as it was on this day in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi, the “greatest pravasi”, returned to India from South Africa and led the country’s freedom struggle.

“Certainly, it is our ambition to build the capacities and strengths commensurate to one of the leading economies of the world. To do that, we recognize the need to think, plan and act more strategically. What is underway may be a national endeavor, but it is one very much based on global partnerships,” Jaishankar said. He mentioned India’s consistent efforts to make it easier to do business in the country for both domestic and global players.

“Our objective may be to increase our own trade, investments and services, but they will surely contribute to a larger global re-balancing. An India with greater capacities can be an additional engine of growth for the global economy. It will also be a trusted partner and a reliable supplier, in line with global norms and practices,” the minister said.

His comments came amid an increasing focus on China’s aggressive trade practices as well as its trade-related disputes with a rising number of countries. Jaishankar delivered three separate speeches at the event. Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said India’s self-reliance initiative does not advocate a self-centered system and that it reflects a concern for the happiness, cooperation and peace of the whole world.

“I underline this message because it is important that the world be fully aware of the global nature of India’s objectives,” he said. Jaishankar said an engagement with the world is fundamental to India’s beliefs and traditions.

“After all, during the pandemic, India not only met its own medicine requirements, but supplied to the rest of the world. Similarly, we not only brought our own people back home, but those of neighbors as well. And as we now look at the supply of vaccines, the prime minister has assured that we will live up fully to our international responsibilities,” he said.

Jaishankar said the experience of the pandemic has driven home the need for more trusted, resilient and reliable supply chains. “Involving the diaspora in that endeavor is natural. To start with, they have always been enthusiastic contributors to nation-building,” he said. The external affairs minister said India has responded to the pandemic through the larger framework of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” to enhance its capacities at home to make a larger contribution abroad.

“We, in India, have responded through the policy of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, building stronger capacities at home to make a larger contribution abroad. It is natural that we seek to involve our diaspora in that process, as they have a well-earned reputation as high achievers,” he said.

Jaishankar said India has demonstrated an ability to rise to the challenge and that determination is now becoming visible as a larger approach to enhance national capabilities and prospects.Lauding the diaspora community, he said it represents the best of India’s culture, ethos and values in foreign countries.

“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,” Jaishankar said at the valedictory session. PTI