London: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today made an emotional plea to the Indian Diaspora in the UK to invest in their motherland, saying “now is the time” to come to India to tap the “immense opportunities” awaiting them.
Swaraj, while launching the two-day Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, said she attached great importance to the event as it is the first large-scale engagement of the new government with the highly successful and vibrant Indian-origin community of the UK and other European countries.
While highlighting the “tremendous opportunities” and “exciting projects” across various sectors, she also acknowledged concerns of the Indian Diaspora seeking greater ease in sustaining links with their motherland.
“I have come here not just to address you but to invite you; now is the time to come to India. There are immense opportunities waiting there for you. I promise I will listen to all your problems and solve each one of them,” she said.
Speaking at the event, NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul said India needs to simplify its rules to make the expatriate community feel welcome in their homeland and encourage them to invest in the country to help shape its future.
Welcoming India’s move to organise the first Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas here, Paul said, “The world knows India largely through contact with its expat community and expat successes reflect well on India. India should appreciate that the expats are the global personality of India.”
Paul said expatriates can contribute a lot to their mother country, but “it is singularly unfortunate that the biggest barriers to expat engagement with India have been erected by Indians themselves”.
“Ever since 1980 the expats have been yearning to do more for India but sadly have been discouraged by some members of the establishment, some politicians and the local business community,” he said.
Paul, the founder-Chairman of the Caparo Group, recalled that he was one of the first persons to substantially invest in India.
Swaraj, who began speaking in English, later switched to Hindi to express her delight at her first visit to London as the External Affairs Minister and went on to hail the BJP’s historic election victory earlier this year that had the audience clapping and cheering.
“As we rejoice in the success of the Indian Diaspora, we also invite you to actively participate in India’s growth story. Our Government is fully committed to good governance, clear policies, efficiency, accountability, speedy decision making, transparency and favourable business environment,” she said.