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Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebrations

High Commission of India in Ottawa, in collaboration with community organizations in Ottawa region, organized a function to mark the celebrations of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on 9 January, 2018. The event was well attended with over 140 guests from the diaspora including a Member of Parliament of Indian origin and distinguished members of the community. Sh. Shiv Bhaskar, President, Overseas Friends of India, conducted the proceedings.

During the function, speeches by Hon'ble External Affairs Minister and Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, delivered during the Parliamentarians of Indian Origin (PIO) Conference, in New Delhi, were screened.

EAM noted that “India is proud of contributions and achievements of the diaspora. India recognizes the need to bring a strategic dimension to its overseas community. The global Indian has become a brand synonymous with diligence, excellence and indomitable human spirit”. EAM also informed about the various initiatives and programmes to engage with the diaspora and the rescue missions launched in times of crisis. She concluded by saying that that though we all profess different religions, colors of our passports are different, our mother tongues and practices may be different, we are all still ‘Indians at heart’.

PM in his speech mentioned that “Even though the first generations of the diaspora had to physically leave India, part of their heart and soul was left behind in India. While integrating themselves into the country of their residence, they kept their Indian-ness alive”. He informed about the about the recent economic achievements of India and revolutionary and irreversible changes that the country was going through in terms of mind-set. He said that reform to transform is our guiding principle and that the endeavour is to make the system transparent and answerable and to eradicate corruption. He informed about the pilot projects of the government and how they are creating more opportunities and development in the country. He underlined India’s contribution to world peace and harmony.

High Commissioner addressed the gathering and elaborated on recent developments in India-Canada relations, including the significant increase in the number of Indian students in Canada. He highlighted the contributions made by the diaspora towards furthering the close and friendly ties between India and Canada and lauded the numerous achievements of the Indian diaspora in Canada in various fields. He also reiterated the commitment of the High Commission to ensuring efficient, transparent and prompt consular services and meeting the needs of the Indian diaspora in Canada.

A unique aspect of the event was a detailed power-point presentation by Counsellor (Cons) on various schemes available for the Indo-Canadian community and other consular issues of interest. It addressed various queries/doubts regarding the types of visas, Aadhaar Card, facilities available to OCI card-holders, etc. The diaspora was informed about the 24-hour emergency number that can be used to reach the consular officer at any time and also the facility available for emergency visas. The session was very informative and well appreciated by the members of the community. It was followed by a question and answer session, chaired by Deputy High Commissioner.

The celebration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Ottawa served to underscore once again the close bond nurtured by the Government of India with the Indian diaspora and helped the members of the community in the Ottawa region to get better acquainted with the policies and programmes of the Indian Government.