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Our Correspondent

On January 9, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate-General of India in Dubai celebrated the 16th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) or Non-Resident Indian Day. This is a flagship event of the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) celebrated every two years to engage and connect with overseas Indians. The event was largely held in a virtual format this year, but top Indian diplomats in the UAE and senior community leaders and businessmen attended the virtual event at the mission’s premises.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the event and gave a virtual address: “The Indian diaspora has distinguished itself globally. During my conversations with world leaders, they have been appreciative of the Indian community in their respective nations, especially the doctors, nurses and paramedics.”

 

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar spoke about the importance of ‘Role of the Diaspora in Atmanirbhar Bharat’: “The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the need for more trusted, resilient, reliable and redundant supply chains. Involving the diaspora in that endeavour is natural.”

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“To start with, they have always been enthusiastic contributors to nation-building. Secondly, as high achievers in their own societies, they can bring to bear resources, technology, best practices and Innovations to the task. Third, they help in giving this ambitious exercise a truly global footprint,” he added.

 

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor and Consul-General of India to Dubai Dr Aman Puri also spoke on the occasion. “The Atmanirbhar campaign is an opportunity for India to emerge as a dominant player in the manufacturing sector and a significant pillar for the global supply chains in every sector,” said Dr Puri.

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Winners of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA), the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians, was also announced. Among the recipients were Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Curacao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and New Zealand Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan; 30 NRIs, Indian-origin people and organisations were conferred the award. There were no winners from the UAE this year.