Mauritius will join South Africa in calling for India to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. That was the firm view of the Mauritian President of the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Mahendra Utchanah.
Participating in a panel discussion on the challenges that Indians faced in Africa at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Chennai on Friday, Utchanah won applause for his suggestion that India set up knowledge centres in countries with large populations of persons of Indian origin (PIO).
But his suggestion that India increase the scholarships that it currently provides to African students to 10,000 annually for PIOs only in Africa was deemed "too ambitious" and "discriminatory" by the audience.
Undeterred, Utchanah continued: "Think about it in five years we would have 50,000 trained people with the skills from Indian training."
He also suggested that India introduce affordable special "Pilgrimage Tourism" packages for people of all religions to visit the country.
Finally, the GOPIO chief proposed that the next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas be hosted in an African country.
That suggestion seemed to resonate with Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, who confirmed as the event ended that he would be happy to receive proposals to host the PBD in other countries. "Several public private partnerships have been explored and will be developed," he said.