Importance of Knowing India
There is a saying in our country – ‘Swadesho Bhuvantrayam’. That is, ‘for us, the whole world is our country and only human beings are our brothers and sisters’. It was on this ideological foundation that our forefathers shaped the cultural expansion of India. We went to different corners of the world. We understood the infinite possibilities of the amalgamation of civilizations. We started an extraordinary tradition of global trade centuries ago. We crossed the seas that seemed limitless. India and Indians have shown how business relations between different countries and different civilizations can open the way for shared prosperity.
Today, when we see our crores of Indian diaspora on the global map, several pictures emerge simultaneously. When the people of India appear to be a common factor in so many different countries of the world, then the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The World Is One Family) is visible. When people from different regions of India meet in any country of the world, there is a pleasant feeling of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’. When there is mention of the most peace-loving, democratic and disciplined citizens in different countries of the world, the glory of India being the Mother of Democracy increases manifold. And when the world assesses the contribution of our overseas Indians, it hears the voice of ‘strong and capable India’. Therefore, I refer to all of you, all the overseas Indians, the brand ambassadors of India on foreign soil. There are ambassadors in the government system. You are the ambassador of the great heritage of India.
Your role as India’s brand ambassador is diverse. You are brand ambassadors of Make In India. You are brand ambassadors of Yoga and Ayurveda. You are also brand ambassadors of India’s cottage industries and handicrafts. At the same time, you are also brand ambassadors of India’s millets. You would already know that 2023 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Millets. I appeal to you to take some millet products with you while returning. You also have another important role to play in these rapidly changing times. You are the people who will address the world’s desire to know more about India. Today, the whole world is waiting and watching India keenly with great interest and curiosity. It is important to understand why I am saying this.
The pace of development that India has achieved in the last few years, the achievements it has made are extraordinary and unprecedented. When India develops indigenous vaccines within a few months in the midst of the Covid pandemic, when India makes a record of administering more than 220 crore vaccine doses to its citizens free of cost, when India becomes the emerging economy of the world even in the midst of global instability, when India competes with the world’s big economies and joins the top-5 economies, when India becomes the world’s third largest start-up ecosystem, when ‘Make in India’ shines in the field of electronic manufacturing and in areas like mobile manufacturing, when India on its own builds Tejas fighter plane, aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and nuclear submarines like Arihant, it is natural that the world and the people of the world are curious about what India is doing and how it is doing it. People are curious to know about the speed, scale and future of India.
Similarly, when it comes to cashless economy and fintech, the world is surprised to see that 40 percent of the world’s real time digital transactions take place in India. When it comes to the future of space, India is discussed among the most advanced countries in space technology. India is making a record of launching 100 satellites in one go. The world is watching our capability in the field of software and digital technology. Many of you are also a great source of this. This increasing power and strength of India swells the chest of every person connected to the roots of India.
Today India’s voice, India’s message and India’s words have a different significance on the global arena. This growing power of India is going to increase further in the near future. And therefore, the curiosity towards India will also increase further. And therefore, the responsibility of the people of Indian origin living abroad also increases a lot. The more comprehensive information you have about India today, the more you will be able to tell others about India’s growing potential based on facts. I urge that you should have updated information about India’s progress along with cultural and spiritual information.
All of you are also aware that India is presiding over the G-20 group of the world this year. India is looking at this responsibility as a great opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to tell the world about India. This is an opportunity for the world to learn from India’s experiences and to decide the direction of a sustainable future from past experiences. We have to make the G-20 not just a diplomatic event, but a historic event of people’s participation. During this time, different countries of the world will see the spirit of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (Treat your guest as god) in the people of India. You can also meet the representatives coming from your country and tell them about India. This will give them a sense of belonging and welcome even before they reach India.
And I would also like to say that when some 200 meetings are going to be held during the G-20 summit, when 200 delegations of the G-20 group are going to come here and visit different cities of India, the Indian diaspora should call them and listen to their experiences upon their return. I think this will be an opportunity to further strengthen our bond with them.
Today, India not only has the potential to become the knowledge center of the world, but the skill capital as well. Today India has a large number of capable youth. Our youth have skills, values, and the necessary passion and honesty to work. This skill capital of India can become the engine of development of the world. Along with the youth in India, India’s priority is also the migrant youth who are connected to India. We are also giving many opportunities to our next generation youth, who were born abroad and brought up there, to know and understand our India. The enthusiasm about India is increasing even among the next generation migrant youth. They want to know about the country of their parents, want to connect with their roots. It is the responsibility of all of us to not only brief these youths in depth about the country, but also show them India. With traditional sense and modern outlook, these youth will be able to tell the future world about India more effectively. The more the curiosity among the youth increases, the more tourism related to India will increase, the research related to India will increase and the pride of India will increase. These youth can come during various festivals of India, during famous fairs or can take advantage of Buddha Circuit and Ramayana Circuit. They can also join the programs being organized under the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence.
I have one more suggestion. Migrants from India have settled in many countries over the centuries. The Indian diaspora has made extraordinary contributions to nation building there. We should document their lives, struggles and achievements. Many of our elders will have several memories of those times. I urge that universities should make efforts for audio-video or written documentation on the history of our diaspora in every country.
Any nation lives in the heart of every single person who pledges allegiance to it. When a person from India goes abroad and finds even a single person of Indian origin there, he feels that he has found the whole of India. That is, wherever you live, you keep India with you. The country has made every possible effort to give strength to its diaspora in the last eight years. Today it is India’s commitment that wherever you live in the world, the country will support your interests and expectations.
(Excerpts from Indian Prime Minister’s Speech at 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore, Madhya Pradesh on January 9, 2023)