When roots help grow shoots, it is a natural fit. As India becomes an engaging growth story, with an "Act East" foreign policy to link with its continental friends in what could be called an Asian centre, those connecting the dots to help a resurgent India are obviously those with their roots in the subcontinent. The Indian diaspora in and around Singapore are increasingly central to this.
The excitement and buzz around the ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), to be held in Singapore, is palpable. The event is a showcase of the rapid growth in economic and political ties between the two in the 25 years since they first forged a relationship.
According to top business minds in Singapore, the timing of regional PBD couldn’t have been better. Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank, said, “PBD has a bigger significance today; the diaspora, which is strong, powerful and influential, can really play a very crucial and significant role in India’s ongoing development.”
ASEAN, and Singapore in particular, are fast becoming one of India’s most important trade partners and the upcoming PBD will provide an opportunity for many of these ties to be solidified. With the Indian government’s Act East policy and Singapore’s emphasis on skills development, ASEAN is emerging as a favoured destination for business leaders to invest in.
"Events like PBD build Brand India and bring to life the contribution the diaspora is making," said Amit Banati, president, Asia-Pacific, Kellog’s. The PBD will also serve as a catalyst in furthering the partnership between India and ASEAN.
Here’s what some of Singapore’s most prominent Indian-origin citizens and business leaders had to say about the event, and the growing ASEAN India ties.