India's External Affairs Minister is in the midst of a busy week in New York, and took the time to meet representatives of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin to listen to the concerns of Indians living around the world and discuss ideas for greater cooperation.
Minister Swaraj “interacts with Community Leaders & members of GOPIO, discussed initiatives for enhancing role of Diaspora in development of #New India,” said a tweet from the Indian Consulate of New York.
Yesterday, as part of the United Nations General Assembly meetings, Swaraj interacted with her key foreign counterparts on the sidelines of the high-level session of the General Assembly in New York and discussed several issues including trade, investment and capacity building.
Ms Swaraj met Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Liechtenstein Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick, Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Foreign Minister of Ecuador Jose Valencia, Foreign Minister of Australia Marise Payne and Foreign Minister of Mongolia Damdin Tsogtbaatar.
According to an Indo Asian News Service report, Swaraj has a “grueling” schedule and her roster includes meetings with top UN and World Health Organisation officials, President Donald Trump’s meeting on the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem, as well as bilateral meetings, and meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Commonwealth, the G77 group of developing countries, and the Heart of Asia meeting of countries of Central and South Asia.
At the GOPIO community meeting others present apart from GOPIO president Thomas Abraham were GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi, and Secretary General Dr Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO International Coordinators-at-Large Lal Motwani and Dr Asha Samant, GOPIO Chapter Validation Committee Chair Dinesh Mittal, GOPIO-CT president Anita Bhat, and TV Asia news anchor Rohit Vyas.
India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty also joined the meeting which took place in the penthouse suite of the Intercontinental Hotel in New York City.
“It was a productive meeting. We covered at least 11 agenda items and a few other issues,” said Dr Mehta, adding that Minister Swaraj “was very receptive.”
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which takes place in Varanasi from January 21-23, and the GOPIO Convention which will take place on the sidelines was discussed. Swaraj is the chief guest at the valedictory session of the GOPIO Convention.
Legal problems of Non-resident Indians (NRIs) other people of Indian origin were also addressed, particularly the abandonment of wives and husbands and how New Delhi and the communities abroad could be pro-active. “It was agreed that the word ‘spouses’ would replace gender-based terminology on the issue of abandonment; and legal issues like postponement of court hearings in India for those who went from abroad, was discussed,” said Mehta, adding that Swaraj recognized the issue of case backlogs and lack of adequate number of judges.
“Minister Swaraj told that one can apply for Passport in other languages and (there were) no plans for Visa forms in other languages,” Abraham said. However, the subject of making forms easier could be discussed with the secretary in charge of passports and visas at MEA.
Prior to the PBD, an academic conference has been organised by GOPIO jointly with Gujarat University entitled, 'A Recent Perspective on India-Diaspora Bond' on January 15 and 16. Swaraj suggested reaching out to the Indian Ministry of Human Resources for assistance on that front.