C O N C E P T   P A P ER 




“NRI/PIO Business Networking for Trade and Investment and Contribution of Indian Diaspora in Europe


4 October 2004

Brussels, Belgium




1.         GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) Belgium, a national Chapter of GOPIO International, being in the heart of Europe is uniquely placed to raise the profile of the PIO/NRI community in the European Union.  GOPIO has developed contact and effective working relationship with key people in the European institutions (Parliament, Commission, Council) and Brussels based missions of some PIO countries. Some EU officials of Indian origin are already members of GOPIO-Belgium; others are being formally invited to join.

2.         The European Union is India’s largest trading partner, major contributor of development aid and is home to a large and influential Indian Diaspora. However, NRI/PIO community in the EU is largely unrecognized by the EU authorities; and yet a good deal of EU legislation directly affects them.  The Indian community in Belgium is far behind the American community in terms of recognition, political and economic clout.  Worse, in the minds of EU decision shapers and makers, the Indian European community is largely associated with restaurant owners, night shops and perhaps even illegal immigrants.

India and the International media


3.         Last few months have been remarkable for India and the Indian economy. It has achieved 8.4 per cent growth, its Foreign Exchange Reserve has surpassed $109 Billion – no wonder “India is shining”. The Western press did not miss India’s economic achievements, most news services carried out stories of “India Shining”. However, much work still needs to be done in carrying the message to Europe that India’s burgeoning self-confidence in not just political propaganda and nor is India on “job-grabbing” mode. GOPIO hopes to make its contribution in taking the appropriate message into Europe.

4.         GOPIO recognizes that international reporting is key to building country’s image and therefore there is a need to bring an attitudinal change about India in Europe.  In economic terms, India’s achievements and potential for expanded trade with Europe have not been highlighted sufficiently enough. The boisterous and sometimes loud sounds of a functioning and increasingly mature democracy are frequently misrepresented in the Western press often taking its cues from an over-critical Indian press. GOPIO hopes to make larger contributions in redressing the balance.

Role of the Indian Diaspora

5.         Twenty one million people of Indian origin live overseas spread over 110 countries having estimated combined income of $160 billion. Many realize that successful overseas Indians could play an important role in supporting India’s development through investment, trade and commerce, charitable contributions and lobbying on India’s behalf. India gets about $4 billion as foreign direct investment of which the contribution of the overseas Indian is about 9.15 per cent. The Chinese expatriates, by comparison, are responsible for about half of their country’s $48 billion in foreign direct investment. India has not been able to attract the desired FDI from the European multinationals. The Indian Diaspora is an asset for creating a global network and economic bridges that can provide a useful help for both India and the country of Indian origin.

Enhancing EU-India Relations: GOPIO proposal

6.         One of the outcome of the GOPIO Seminar India: Opportunities Unlimited” on 4th. December 2003 was that the Indian Community in Europe should join together to seek better recognition which they deserve by their sheer hard work and business acumen. The Seminar was widely covered in the front page of the Economic Times and The Times of India, New Delhi. The coming enlargement of the European Union offers both opportunities and challenges for the NRIs/PIOs living in Europe. This emerging scenario calls for recognition of greater contribution by the Indian community in the development of Europe. 

7.         Aim of the Conference:  The Indian Diaspora can become a major catalyst in enhancing and strengthening the EU-India relations and change the mind-set. The Indian Diaspora exhibits a great diversity not only in terms of geography and communities, but also in socio economic status, educational achievements, political participation and power. Strengthening of the EU-India relations will help trade networks and effectively and strategically link the Diaspora globally.  In the light of the above, the GOPIO Belgium plans to organize, in association with the Indian Embassy, a one day Conference on 4th. October 2004. The immediate aims of the Conference will be:

-           to draw the attention of the key European Institutions in Brussels to the economic importance of the PIO community in the EU member states;

-           demonstrate the role the PIO community can play in strengthening and expanding EU-India relations and

-           set up a Brussels-based committee that would act as a channel of communication between the PIO community and these institutions, in order to influence the EU-decision making process on issues of direct interest to this community.

            The programme will also focus on activities being undertaken by the European Commission, as the EU’s executive arm, within the framework of EU-India relations.  These activities include EU support for promoting trade and investment between the EU and India; the possibilities offered by the EU-India economic cross-cultural programme for involvement by the PIO community; scholarship schemes; the EU’s national indicative programme (2004-2006) for India; media activities, especially in the framework of the project being implemented by the Journalism centre in Maastricht and the International Federation of Journalists in Brussels, etc.

Broadly, the Conference would also aim to raise European consciousness about the  potential of the Indian economy and to forge strategic partnerships between India and the Indian Diaspora in Europe through interaction among leading business leaders, the representatives of different Missions and leaders of multi-national corporations interested in tapping India's economic potential.  Special sessions devoted to business meetings and networking activities will give rare opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors and other key decision makers to form partnerships to benefit from the vast economic opportunities arising from the opening of the Indian economy and also the economy of the countries having the presence of the Indian Diaspora and use GOPIO Belgium for linkages in Europe.

8.         Convenor: GOPIO, Belgium  (with direct co-operation from the Indian Embassy).


9.         Conference: The theme “NRI/PIO Business Networking for Trade and Investment and Contribution of Indian Diaspora in Europe” has broader economic, social and commercial sense and is likely to attract the attention of the NRI/PIO community in Europe as it covers the contribution of business people, industrialists, economic operators, writers, politicians, social workers, etc. 


10.       The Venue: The ITUH Auditorium, Brussels. This Auditorium is one of the most sophisticated Auditoriums in Brussels and is cost effective too. 


11.       Participation:  As one of the key aims of the conference is to strengthen EU-India relations, the participants will be drawn from PIOs/NRIs community living in the EU.  The list will be drawn up with the help of Indian Embassies/Consulates in EU capitals; GOPIO-International and other GOPIO Chapters in the EU; Chambers of Commerce, EU institutions and EU-based companies, and the members of GOPIO-Belgium.  Important American PIO business leaders will be invited, largely in order to explain the reasons for their success in the economic and political life of their country.  Participation of interested business bodies and Chamber of Commerce in other EU countries in which India has interest, will also be invited.


12.       Institutional support: The help of GOPIO International will be sought in publicizing the seminar and selecting one or two Indian American speakers. GOPIO Belgium will seek the active support, including financial and in kind, of the European Commission and European Parliament, sponsorship from business houses in the organization of the seminar. Help will be requested in contacting the Indian High Commission in London and Indian embassies in the other EU capitals, to seek their help in drawing up list of PIOs to be contacted, etc.










Pls. find attached the Registration Form














“NRI/PIO Business Networking for Trade and Investment and Contribution of Indian Diaspora in Europe


4 October 2004, Brussels


Venue: ITUH Auditorium, 5, Boulevard du Roi Albert II

B - 1210  Bruxelles (Belgium)


Please complete this registration form and return to:


President, GOPIO Belgium

69, Boulevard Louis Mettewie

(bte 18)

1080 Brussels (Belgium)


Tel & Fax: 0032-2-469 2677,  E-mail: sunil.prasad@coditel.net or sunil.prasad@icftu.org




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Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Belgium,

69, Boulevard Louis Mettewie

(bte. 18)

B – 1080 Brussels (Belgium)


Tel. & Fax. +32-2- 469 2677, E-mail: sunil.prasad@coditel.net