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New Delhi : The President of India Ram Nath Kovind addressed the closing session of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention and presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on January 23, 2019.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the Indian diaspora is among the largest in the world and its history is as rich and diverse as the diaspora itself. In the past, our ancestors travelled to Southeast Asia as merchants and as monks. Much later, many lived and prospered as traders and entrepreneurs along the Silk Route. And more than a century ago, under the indenture system, we witnessed millions of our people crossing the seven seas. The world has moved a long way since for our diaspora. They are commanding global heights today while embracing their cultural ethos and diversity. And while they do so, they must also preserve and strengthen their unity as a community, he aid.

The President said the Indian diaspora’s success and hard work have set an example. They are the face of India and its identity abroad. We are proud of them and their achievements. But what really makes their contributions stand out are the values that they espouse and live for. These are values that intrinsically remain Indian, he said.

The President said that India today is a land of a billion ideas and a billion opportunities. He invited the Indian diaspora to become a part of India’s growth story. We want to change the brain-drain of yesterday to the brain-gain of today. He called upon the diaspora to contribute to and partner in the New India.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, who is attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention at Varanasi, called on the President. During the discussions, the President thanked Jugnauth for being the Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention and said that his presence attests to India-Mauritius special and unique ties and shared history and heritage, according to a PIB release.

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