British Employment Minister and UK’s Indian Diaspora Champion Priti Patel attended the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi alongside Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj….reports Asian Lite News
Priti Patel celebrated the “vibrant contribution” of the Indian community worldwide while addressing the Indian diaspora groups globally through videoconference including London, Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Priti said the overseas Indians community can play a crucial role in the development of India.
The British minister also promised to fulfill Prime Minister Modi’s ambition to create a clean and vibrant India.
“As an established partner to India, the UK stands ready to help support Modi’s vision,” she said. “Modi wants to transform India’s economy, build 100 smart cities and provide electricity for all. The City of London can provide the capital needed. India wants investment. UK companies are the single biggest G20 investor in India.”
EXTRACTS FROM THE SPEECH:
“Two years ago, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed me as his Diaspora Champion for the Indian community in the United Kingdom.This role was the first of its type – unique in the UK and anywhere in the world. It is evidence of the personal commitment that our Prime Minister places on the relationship between Indian and the UK, and, importantly, our people-to people links,,” she said.
“And I have to say it has been an absolute privilege. I act as an advocate for the British Indian community in the UK and also represent the Government on UK-India affairs. Over the two years in this role, I have had the honour to engage with the British Indian community across the UK. I can say that I am immensely proud of the 1.5 million diaspora in the UK -the second largest in the western world – who have contributed so richly to British identity, success and identity.
“Over 100,000 people from the Indian community run their own business in the UK and over 90,000 people in India work for UK companies. Indeed our two democracies and our strong economies have brought new opportunities across the very countries we represent.
“Nothing has quite captured the natural affinity between our two people more than the spectacular diaspora event held at Wembley Stadium during the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November. Attended by more than 50,000 people, it truly encapsulated the spirit and warmth of the UK-India relationship, rooted in our large diaspora community.
“In fact, during his address Prime Minister Modi remarked of Prime Minister Cameron, that he has, to quote, “fully integrated himself with with the British Indian community”. If I may say so, that sentiment is also widely shared by the 1.5 million Indian diaspora in the UK. As the Indian diaspora champion, my personal ambition is to continue to increase engagement and dialogue with the Indian community in the UK. I want to develop even closer the long-standing relationship between our nations.
“Since taking this role, I have seen the relationship between our two nations bloom. We have always enjoyed a deep friendship with India, based on shared values and common interests. But we also continue to strive to strengthen these bonds even further.
“The visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UK in November was a milestone in the relationship. The first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in nearly a decade, it captured the affection and mutual respect between our two countries. As well as the inspiring Wembley event, I had the privilege to share a moment of reflection with the Prime Minister at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square, and to be part of his visit during his three day trip.
“We saw during this landmark visit the UK-India relationship develop to a new level. We saw our two great nations come together to deepen our existing bonds in business, education, finance, security and many more areas. There is no doubt that our two great nations do indeed have one glorious future together.
“What was abundantly clear during the visit was the strength of Prime Minister Modi’s ambition for the future of India. And as an established partner to India, the UK stands ready to help support Modi’s vision. Modi wants to transform India’s economy, build 100 smart cities and provide electricity for all. The City of London can provide the capital needed. India wants investment. UK companies are the single biggest G20 investor in India.
“Prime Minister Modi has ambitious and exciting plans for India and the UK has the ability to help turn this vision into reality. And since 2006, we have had 25,000 exchanges of academics, staff and students under the UK India Education and Research Initiative – let’s keep this level of momentum going!
“We are also collaborating on developing smarter, greener cities. Yesterday, I was delighted attend the launch of the roadmap for a low carbon and climate resilient Kolkata with the Mayor of Kolkata, Mr Sovan Chatterjee. British and Indian experts have worked together on this unique programme that will create one million green jobs, attract investment andcut carbon emissions in this city. This is another example of where the two of us can work together to make a real difference.
“Of course, the economy is also a priority for both our countries. During Modi’s visit, we announced more that £9billion in commercial deals and bilateral investment, which will also underpin our growing relationship. And Prim Minister Modi announced the Government of India’s intention to launch the first Government backed rupee bond in London to fund railway infrastructure development. So these are just a few examples of where we are working together, government to government.
“But of course, building stronger UK-India ties is not just about government engagement. The heart of our relationship lies at the level of the individual, and that is why the Indian diaspora in the UK remains the cornerstone of the burgeoning UK-India relationship. From increasing business investment, building cultural ties and deepening our partnership, the Indian Diaspora has a crucial role to play.