Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj mesmerised members of Indian diaspora with a powerful speech at a reception in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The event was organised at the Indian School Riyadh.
Enthused by large presence of members of Indian diaspora, Sushma said, “Your presence in large numbers shows the immense amount of love in your heart for the country.”
“The real ambassadors are the members of the Indian community through which people of other nations know about India,” she added.
While speaking about three characteristics of members of Indian diaspora who are living abroad, she said, “Indians are nice neighbours. They are very hard-working and law abiding citizens."
This is her first visit to the Middle East nation where she spoke about the relations between the two countries.
“Indian Embassy – home away from home for Indian diaspora, EAM @SushmaSwaraj while addressing enthusiastic Indian community members at a reception in #Riyadh. First engagement on her visit to Saudi Arabia." Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Sushma Swaraj also thanked the members of Indian diaspora for the good will it has earned for the country and lauded the Indian embassy for its promptness.
“EAM thanked all the pravasis (diaspora) for the good will they have earned for themselves and the country,” Kumar said.
“EAM praised the Indian Embassy for responding to the Indian Community promptly,” he said in a tweet.
Sushma hailed PM Modi’s 2016 visit to the Gulf kingdom as a strong one that provided the much needed impetus to growth of relations between both the countries.
The Minister will also inaugurate Al Janadria, the national cultural festival of Saudi Arabia as the 'Guest of Honour' country. The festival, organised by the National Guard, exhibits Saudi Arabia’s rich tapestry of culture and heritage.
An India pavilion has also been set up at the venue which will provide glimpses of traditional and modern India. A number of Indian companies including Larsen and Toubro, Tata Motors, Jet Airways, Shapoorji Pallonji have put up their stalls in the India pavilion.
The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) has sent nine different cultural troupes for the cultural performances which include Kathakali, Kalariyaptu, Kathak, Manipuri and others. There will be cultural performances during evenings in the festival.
Relations between India and Saudi Arabia is improving and there has been several visits of the top dignitaries of both the countries. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia in April, 2016 which resulted in furthering bilateral strategic engagement in the areas of security and defence co-operation. Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Adel Al-Jubeir also visited India in March, 2016.
Notably, Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner after China, the US and the UAE. The country is a major source of India’s energy requirement as it accounts for almost one- fifth of India’s crude oil requirement.
The volume of bilateral trade during 2016-17 was recorded at USD 25.079 billion, a slight decrease from the USD 26.71 billion in 2015-16.