The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Thursday said that his government is taking concrete steps to widen the scope of educational and business opportunities for both Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) as New Delhi is keen to tap the wellspring of Indian creativity and enterprise from around the world.
"Our ability to do so will depend on our ability to forge partnerships, on the one hand, and our ability to provide the proper environment for the flowering of such partnerships at home. Our Government is committed to cementing a new bond of mutually beneficial collaboration between India and people of Indian origin around the world," Dr Singh said in his address to the Indian community in Port of Spain.
"Education and business are the two major arenas through which we are reconnecting with people of Indian origin worldwide. But the cornerstone of our interaction remains our shared culture - both ancient and modern," he said.
Expressing his delight at attending a reception for the community hosted by High Commissioner Malay Mishra, Dr Singh said that he was happy to be in Port of Spain to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
He said that whenever he meets people of Indian origin around the world, he celebrated not only India's pluralism, but also its great civilisational inheritance.
"Indianness is like a large and all-encompassing banyan tree. It offers shade to everyone who comes in search of it. It has deep roots at home and branches that in turn go to great distances and strike roots there," adding the Indian community in Trinidad and Tobago has "demonstrated the unique liberalism and pluralism of Indian civilization" by successfully blending Indian culture and values with the local cultural and social environment.
Stating that India was on the move and reaching out to the world with confidence and in a spirit of live and let live, Dr. Singh said: "You (NRIs and PIOs) are, for millions of Indians, the most visible symbol of our own globalisation."
If the 21st century is being projected as the "Knowledge Century", Dr Singh said India on Friday is viewed as a "Knowledge Economy" because of the reputation that the people of Indian origin worldwide have earned through their creativity and diligence.
Indians, he said, have traveled the world as both traders and teachers, and at one time in history, were the envy of the world. But, in the last twenty to thirty years, Indians have lost ground both because we failed to incentivise our institutions to become global players and because foreign universities became more aggressive in marketing.
"I am conscious of the fact that an important demand of the overseas Indian community is to secure access to educational opportunities in India. That is why our Government has been widening educational opportunities for people of Indian origin in India. I want all those people of Indian origin who have never been to India to make a pilgrimage and discover the new India that is in the making," the Prime Minister said.
"I invite you to be active partners of a new India and walk with us in finding new pathways of development and progress. I invite you to feel the love and affection of Mother India and feel the warmth of her embrace," he added.
"I do think the Indian diaspora can emerge as a major global network for the tourism and travel trade. There are many people of Indian origin on the US mainland who would be happy to come to these islands for business and holiday. There are win-win possibilities in this kind of business activity," he said.