“Singapore is the bridge between India and ASEAN, and our gateway to the broader East. In our values and embrace of diversity and for our vision for the region, Singapore and India mirror each other. So, we are pleased to host this event in Singapore in the magnificent settings surrounded by symbols of Singapore’s soaring success”, asserted HE Jawed Ashraf, High Commissioner of India, Singapore while welcoming delegates at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) which started in Singapore today.
Reflecting on the 25 years of relationship between India and ASEAN, Jawed Ashraf said, “This is a historic milestone in a journey that has brought two billion people together and of partnership that can be great value for the region and the world. We have covered much distance with the ASEAN institutionally and member states but of all proximities and similarities, synergies and opportunities, we know that much of the journey to the destination we seek still lies ahead.”
Sharing his belief on the theme of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas of this year, the High Commissioner said, “The theme of Ancient Root, New Journey- Diaspora in the Dynamic Asean-India Partnership reflects our desire to reclaim our heritage for the sake of our common future. This is not just a diaspora event, it is a comprehensive platform to advance ASEAN-India ties and to track the enormous potential of diaspora for the benefit of India and ASEAN.”
Giving details about the two-day PBD event, the High Commissioner observed, “This is one of the biggest business meet for the ASEAN and India in Singapore with nine sessions of every aspect of business. There are other panels covering geopolitics, culture, youth, history, education, research, science and technology. We thank FICCI and CII for turning out in great strength.”
He added, “We also have Writer’s festival, Cinema festival, art exhibition and outstanding exhibition on history about India links with South East Asia, Yoga and Ayurveda all showcasing the extraordinary diaspora talent in the region. There is something for every taste and every interest.”
To attract the youth towards PBD, Jawed Ashraf said, “We are connecting with youth through six competitions- essay and poetry, dance and music, photography and online challenges. The response is tremendous with over 1000 entries.”
He also informed about the India-Singapore/ASEAN Entrepreneurship Bridge (InSpreneur) programme which was inaugurated yesterday. In the event, there were 600 invited participants including 250 startups and nearly 100 investors.
Lauding the role of S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) of Singapore in his engagement with India, High Commissioner said, “We are fortunate to have S Iswaran, there are few ministers in the world as invested and engaging with India and who understands India and the nuances of competitive and cooperative federalism in India the way he does. In many ways, the iconic Amrvavati project and much we are doing are the results of his belief and his efforts.”
The High Commissioner also spoke high about Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India, “The optimism and confidence about India’s economic future both in India and the world stem in large parts from what Minister is doing to transform India’s infrastructure and at speed, quality and scale that is simply unprecedented . He has made India the best infrastructure story in the world.”
The High Commissioner hoped that PBD event will be successful in advancing the cause of a deeper and stronger partnership between India and ASEAN.