Honourable Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Mr. Jagdish
Tytler, His Excellency Ambassador Abhyankar, MEPs Ms. Neena Gill, Dr. Charles
Tannock, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Abraham, President Mr.
It is my proud privilege to extend you all a warm welcome. We are honoured to-day with the presence of the Mr. Jagdish Tytler in our midst. Tytlerji you have many achievements to your credit but assuming the Ministerial responsibility of the first ever created exclusive Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs, we believe is a tribute to your experience and your capacity to take up new challenges. A dynamic leader that you are, we have no doubt that you will successfully establish a deeper understanding of the vision and aspirations of the Indian Diaspora. GOPIO will extend you full co-operation.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Government of India and particularly to His Excellency Abhyankar for his support and co-operation in organizing this event.
I specially welcome MEPs Ms. Neena Gill, Dr. Charles Tannock
and Mr. Nirj Deva. They have been doing
a yeomen service to promote understanding between
are successful business and community leaders in their own rights. They make
I would like to
take this opportunity to welcome and thank GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
and President Mr.
Ladies and gentlemen, today GOPIO is not just a celebrated organization, this event is a celebration of itself. I would like to express my deep appreciation and sincere thanks to the Members of GOPIO and its Executive Committee for their personal support to me in carrying out my responsibilities. They have given me strength, courage and wisdom and they have shared the responsibility; equally but differently. Believe me, my only contribution in organizing this event, has been to lead and translate the unified collective directive of our organization into an effective institutional framework. The credit of GOPIO’s achievements therefore goes to them and them alone.
I welcome and thank the sponsors of the Conference particularly sponsorship from our own members as it is their support that has helped us to organize this event.
Friends, from Malta to Mexico, Nigeria to New Zealand and Thailand to Trinidad although the Indian Diaspora live under 110 different national flags, their dreams are one, their visions are similar and their aspirations are identical - to achieve excellence in social, cultural, academic, economic and political lives.
During the last three decades, this
community has emerged as a dynamic factor, changing
Shri Tytlerji, however, I would like to
point out that the 22 million Indian Diaspora must not be seen only as a source
of potential economic benefit. The rise and success of this community in their “home”
countries is as important as the success of Indians in
This Conference is about institutionalizing a body to enhance trade and commerce between Europe and India, it is about our strategic role in Europe, it is about raising the profile of the Indian community, it is about economics and politics, it is about learning and emulating the successful political and entrepreneurship skills of the Indian Americans, it is about our pride and prejudice, it is about our hope and despair, it is about our role and responsibilities, it is about our strength and weakness, it is about our rights and privileges, it is about our image and it is also about establishing Indian heritage in the European economic and political space.
and gentlemen, with more than 225 participants from 24 countries this truly is
an international event of global importance. Since printing our list of participants, 12
more have joined us. Tytlerji, if you permit, I would say that this event is a
mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in
will be created this afternoon with the launching of the Europe-India Chamber
of Commerce. Three eminent Indian and European industrialists Dr. Ajit Shetty, who
is undoubtedly the most successful Indian Industrialist in this country, Mr.
Sanjay Dalmia, Chairman of the Dalmia Group of Companies in
were made in the 70s and 90s to launch
such a body but due to several factors and more particularly because of the absence of effective interest and seriousness,
the efforts did not see the light of the day. But to-day, this Chamber is no longer
a dream, it is a reality. In the coming months, the GOPIO will host a meeting
of all those Chambers of Commerce in the EU countries doing business with
Let me say that by assembling here to day, we are observing not
only a celebration of the aspirations of the Indian Diaspora, but also a symbol
of the beginning of a new relationship between
GOPIO welcomes the
EU-India engagement and stronger economic co-operation. We would like to assure
the European Union that three million Indian Diaspora in
Friends, in welcoming you I would like to take this
opportunity to touch upon one of the core objectives of this Conference. Enough
has been said and written about why
May be to the surprise of many, I would like to say that I take a positive view of this. The more I read and the more I learn about Chinese economic impact on India and Indian industries, the more I am struck by the sense of growing nationalism as we are asking ourselves: "Why can’t we have the Chinese miracle in India? Why can't we have the same degree of success? We have the drive, we have the know-how and we have the will to do so."
Therefore I thank
Those who have watched the CNN global debate live telecast
from New Delhi three weeks ago about business process outsourcing, must have
noticed how India is shaping itself the as the global business powerhouse. Just
think what CNN or the BBC has got to do with this? The fact is that
In the context of trade and investment, it is
true that there is an impression in the minds of investors that
This impression must change. The Indian community abroad has the intellectual, political and economic potentials to bring this change; all that requires is a proper co-ordination of their strength and resources. Let us realize our power. Let us realize our strength.
This Conference therefore, I believe,
offers us an opportunity to change this mindset. One Conference is not enough. This is the
beginning of our mission and GOPIO is determined to continue it and I confess, we
have miles to go before we can rest. GOPIO
is an organization with commitment and we believe in the future. We believe
that 21st century is
The World Economic Forum has asked us if we
could become partner in their ongoing co-operation with
Tytlerji, each Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is a manifestation of the aspirations of the Indian Diaspora. This Divas by the Pravasi, to the Pravasi and for the Pravasi must address global Diasporic issues but sadly there seem to be an element of misplaced approach to the basic framework of connecting with the Diaspora. Sir, in the service of the Diaspora ours is the only global organization which has stood the test of time and we refuse to be ignored.
It would not be out
of place if I mention that in the pursuit to become economic powerhouse, India as
a nation needs to become a brand name which is something missing from the
Indian psyche. When one talks of information technology, the attention of the
world is directed to
A restaurant outside
If to-day, we have more than 225 business and community leaders from all parts of globe, it is not because of Sunil, not because of Thomas, not because of Inder but because of the brand name that is called GOPIO, GOPIO.
Ladies and gentlemen, I once again welcome you all. Your day is packed with brain storming sessions and I do hope that you will find the content and the context of the conference useful. Tytlerji, we thank you so much once again for being able to be with us. Friends, before I conclude, I would like to quote the French scholar Romain Rolland who once said: “If there is one place on the face of the earth where all dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India”.
Thank you very much.