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High Commissioner of India Gaitri I. Kumar

The High Commissioner of India HE Mrs Gaitri Kumar recently held a series of virtual interactions with young members of the Conservative Friends of India, Mahatma Gandhi Leadership Program hosted by the Labour Party, and the British South Asian Youth Summit hosted by H’ble Virendra Sharma, Member of Parliament for Ealing.

High Commissioner  HE Mrs Kumar reiterated a keen interest in strengthening positive and constructive linkages between the youth of India and the United Kingdom calling them key components of the living bridge between India and the UK. These linkages include enhancing mutual understanding, greater engagement, clearer understanding of issues – so that there is no scope for misinformation, creating networks for positive messaging, sharing good news from India, good news about India UK relations, and about new India-UK initiatives. She praised the youth of the Indian communities across the UK for their great spirit and leadership during the worst period of the health crisis and lockdown – for helping communities, delivering food, medicines, information through their networks

As British citizens, she said, Indian origin youth in the UK embody the great heritage of India and all that a modern and technologically advanced country like the UK has infused in them – and, in fact, they symbolise the shared values of India and the UK and common aspirations of our people – two of the world’s greatest functioning democracies.

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Virendra Sharma MP

HE Mrs Kumar called upon the young people of Indian origin to showcase the traditional Indian principles of good conduct – which is a duty – discipline, honesty in our transactions, sincerity in dealing with people and staying away from divisive impulses, always making sure that the sum total of their efforts is always a constructive contribution.

Futher, Mrs Kumar shared that on July 15, India had celebrated World Youth Skills Day. The message of the H’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, to the youth on that day was to skill, upskill and reskill. She quoted PM Modi’s call to the youth of India – which is relevant everywhere – to think and act outside comfort zones, learn new skills and hone existing ones till these very skills become the greatest strengths to discover new paths, not only for greater employability but also for personal enrichment.

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Professor Gamini Keerawella

HE Mrs Kumar pointed to the close historical linkages that give India and the UK a clear advantage and called upon the young people of Indian origin in the UK to see how we can together make it the most exciting new era in a very successful bilateral partnership – for cooperation, collaboration and great achievements – of our peoples and for a better world.

Virendra Sharma MP said:

“I was delighted to arrange this summit to bring together young people and future leaders to foster cooperation and understanding between South Asia and Britain, the theme of our summit. The quality of discussion, knowledge of the delegates and commitment to progressive causes by the young delegates was seriously impressive, especially considering they were all under 31. As a British Member of Parliament, but originally from India, I have a perspective on the UK’s relations that differs from the norm. That is why I wanted to bring this group together.”

Delegates from the nine countries discussed a diverse range of topics in breakout groups, building a progressive, sustainable and inclusive economy, strengthening democratic institutions, protecting and expanding the natural environment, decolonising education – what does progressive and inclusive education look like, diversity, difference and inclusivity – religion and LGBTQ issues. The summit attendees then put together a Memorandum of Understanding based on their discussions. This piece of work was done entirely by the youth delegates.

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Dr Debanjan Chakrabarti

Following the presentation of the MOU by the delegates the summit also heard from Dr Debanjan Chakrabarti of the British Council India, and Professor Gamini Keerawella answered further questions on peace building innovation in the region.  The British Council was kind enough to be part of the programme. Virendra Sharma MP thanked all the speakers, praised the amazing work of the delegates and committed to continue facilitating discussion between the youth groups involved. More than 100 young people attended and participated in the programme which Mr Sharma committed to continuing next year with BSAYS2021. Delegates posted on social media using the hashtag #BSAYS2020.

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