Members of the Indian diaspora in all parts of the United Kingdom, I offer you my warm greetings.
As our people in India and all our brothers and sisters across the globe celebrate our 74th Independence Day, there is equal enthusiasm – if not more – among us all here in the UK.
In Indian communities across the world, one hears a common refrain: We may leave the shores of India, but India never leaves our hearts. That is so true. Wherever we may be We look forward every year to the momentous flag hoisting and the message to the nation of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, inspiring us to forge ahead in every sphere, striving for Atmanirbharta in every way.
On this day, especially, we are reminded of the vision of our founding fathers and the sacrifices that they made for the bright future of the coming generations.
The traditional message of H’ble President of India, Shri Ramnath Kovind on the eve of our 74th Independence Day has been posted on our High Commission’s website. It is an honour for me to deliver it to the Indian Community in the UK.
H’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort this morning has been directly telecast and is carried on our Mission’s social media handles.
Today, India is proud to be the world’s largest functioning democracy with significant achievements in realizing the economic, social, educational aspirations of her people and attaining astounding technological progress including our indigenous civil nuclear energy and space programmes. These make us proud, and spur us on to do more.
Today, our people are direct stakeholders in innovative initiatives for participatory governance that are inspiring developing countries around the world.
The launch of the world’s biggest health assurance scheme covering 500 million people – free, the world’s biggest financial inclusion scheme involving the opening of 370 million bank accounts for the poor, the world’s biggest digital identification programme and the world’s largest toilet construction campaign of over 110 million toilets are some examples.
With these done, India has set for herself another set of new goals – to go further in promoting water conservation, enhancing India’s road infrastructure, eradicating tuberculosis and building millions of residential infrastructure for the poor – these are some priorities.
From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and from Somnath in the west to the farthest point in Arunachal Pradesh, India is an example of unity in diversity, a free and open society, facing its numerous challenges soberly and addressing them effectively in a transparent manner.
At the global level, we are playing a leading role, collaborating with the international community in addressing challenges such as climate change, terrorism, food security, sustainable development, transition to renewable energy, energy security, to name a few and working to safeguard multilateralism and a rules based international order, rules based international trade with WTO at its core.
Now, more than ever, it is necessary to reform international organisations to make them more effective and India is one of the foremost proponents of this goal.
With the UK, India has a unique relationship based on a shared history and a common vision for our future co-operation.
Our H’ble Prime Ministers have spoken about the new post-covid priorities that we will work on together and we look forward to welcoming Rt H’ble Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, His Excellency, Mr Boris Johnson to India soon .
India’s External Affairs Minister , Dr S Jaishankar and H.E. Foreign Secretary of the UK, Mr Dominic Raab, are leading the dialogue and joint efforts in a variety of sectors.
From healthcare to IT services, defence and education to the space sector, our agenda indicates that the sky is not the limit.
In a poll conducted during a recent panel discussion, the majority of the participants voted for India-UK focus on partnership in the manufacturing sector. I was glad to hear that as this is where our strength lies. There are more than 850 Indian companies in the UK with a total revenue of around 45 billion. They have employed around a 1 05 ooo people. There are over 65000 companies owned by Indian diaspora with a combined revenue of more than 36 billion pounds creating over 174000 jobs.
However there are many other facets that numbers cannot illustrate, and therefore there are many powerful factors which are not always seen or quantified.
This is exemplified in the form of the Indian origin doctors and nurses who valiantly fought Covid at the frontlines, many unfortunately risked their lives and lost while seeing to it that others live.
Indeed this power is felt when Indians and eminent PIOs offer solutions and leadership – whether in the private sector or in Government. And this radiant power shone through when you our countrymen and women threw open your doors and hearts to help students and others during the lockdown. This is the spirit of our diaspora, not only a Living Bridge, but also a Loving one.
High Commission of India complemented the selfless efforts of our diaspora and worked day and night to help more than 28000 stranded Indians reach their homes in India and bring back over 14000 British citizens. We continue our efforts to help the remaining numbers.
At this time, when so many societies are struggling to counter misinformation, which is a new kind of weapon – with mass application, I would only urge you to avoid receiving, acting on or promoting doubtful content in any way.
Dear Members of the Indian community in the UK, our High Commission has received hundreds of messages of badhai and greetings from individuals and associations in every part of the UK. We cherish your patriotism and warm sentiments and send out to you our best wishes.
This year, we shall have to be careful , follow local regulations and avoid unnecessary social contacts or large gatherings. Our first priority is to be responsible citizens and protect ourselves and our families from any untoward situation.
I, therefore, request you all to do everything you can to keep good health and a high morale.
In fact , I strongly encourage you to adopt the fitness strategy launched by Rt.Hble Prime Minister of the UK on a Hero cycle made in India !
I look forward to welcoming you back to the High Commission of India, your home away from home, as soon as possible .
Meanwhile, the High Commission of India and its officers and personnel remain at the service of our community supporting your endeavours, wishing you continued success and prosperity.
We wish you a very happy independence day!