NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday urged the Indian diaspora to link the prosperity of their countries with India's development at a time when "we are at the cusp of New India".
Addressing the International Conference of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Parliamentarians here, Kovind said the next few decades were likely to see India's economy -- one of the fastest growing in the world -- gallop ahead.
"We are also at the cusp of New India - an India that will achieve certain milestones for our people by 2022, when we celebrate the 75th year of our Independence," he said.
The President emphasized that the government at this juncture had offered huge investment, trade and developmental opportunities that would benefit not just 1.3 billion people of India but will be a voice of hope and prosperity and of peace and stability for the world.
"The entirety of human civilisation, if I could put it so - has a stake in the development of India. As PIO Parliamentarians, as those in public life in your systems who have the best understanding of India, it is important for you to link your individual country's priorities to India's development. And to see how these can intersect."
Kovind lauded the achievements of the Indian diaspora that he said "has climbed to appreciable heights in almost all the countries where it has found a home".
"Members of the Indian diaspora work hard on farms in countries as far apart as Italy, Bolivia and Tanzania. They are instrumental to the tech start-up ecosystem of Silicon Valley. They form the backbone of the economy of Dubai and other major business cities in the Gulf region.
"The global financial centres of New York, London and Singapore would simply not be the same without the Indian diaspora. And as I discovered during my first state visit after being elected as the President of India, Pravasi Bharatiya teachers have helped educate several generations in Ethiopia."
Kovind also invited the participants for a visit to Rashtrapati Bhavan that he said "belongs to all Indians, to all those in the Indian diaspora and to all PIOs".
The President earlier inaugurated of the PIO conference organised by Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad in association with the PIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of External Affairs.
India celebrates January 9 as the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or the Indian diaspora day to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915.
He said Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was not merely the remembrance of a historical anniversary but "the celebration of a very contemporary, very accomplished and very high-achieving community - the Indian diaspora".
He said by celebrating the day, India was paying tribute to an estimated 30 million strong Indian diaspora community in over 100 countries - from Trinidad to Fiji, from Argentina to Australia, and from the US to the United Arab Emirates.
Of these people, about 13 million are PIOs as we know them, and some 17 million are Non-Resident Indians or NRIs.
The conference was attended by some 140 elected public representatives - from MPs to mayors - from 23 countries.