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Manmohan praises UK Indian diaspora

He meets each of over 200 community members in UK, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 18:59 IST
Vijay Dutt

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first major event soon after landing in London late afternoon on Monday was an interaction with the Indian community at a  reception hosted by the Indian High Commissioner Kamalesh Sharma at Kensington Palace Garden residence.

Despite the long flight, Dr Singh looking cool and relaxed, met each of the over 200 community members some of whom had travelled from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Midlands.

The proverbially treacherous London held itself and the reception stretched beyond the scheduled time. He had in fact even time to listen to some who had a point or two to bring to his notice.

Dr Shiv Pande, former Treasurer and National Chairman of British International Doctors Association for instance requested Dr Singh to include in his agenda for talk with Tony Blair, the plight of thousands of Indian doctors caught in the new Visa regulations particularly those who are half way in their higher training in UK.
The Prime Minister assured him that he would raise the issue during his one to one meeting with his British counterpart.

Addressing the gathering Dr Singh singled out the Indian community in the UK as  "among the most well-established communities of the worldwide Indian diaspora." 

"The Indian community, of whichever faith, in the UK is truly exceptional in terms of educational attainment, economic profile, social integration and cultural vibrancy. They are an enormous asset to their country of adoption and a matter of pride to us."

He further said, "The integration achieved by the community of Indian origin is a shining example of successful adaptation and contribution of any community in the UK. There is no room for the clash of civilisations in India and the Indian community is a vibrant example of that, with Indians of all faiths doing very well."

"He pointed out that the background of the pluralistic society in India, which is tolerant of differences in culture, language and faith, given the Indian diaspora the ability to adjust and integrate in whatever country they chose to live."   

Dr Singh also complimented the British openness. "When applauding the remarkable success of our countrymen in this land, I would also like to pay tribute to the openness of British society, which has created an enabling climate for our people to flourish." He said Britain is "a free society which cherishes individual worth, and which has extended political, economic and social freedoms to successive waves of immigrants".

He added that British and India were had knowledge-driven economy and the former had close understanding "of our institutions and political ethos".  

Dr Singh also gave a brief glimpse of the rapid growth of the Indian economy and said a new India was emerging which made the country the most attractive destination globally. He said a far-reaching revolution was on to provide basic needs of millions in the country.

Dr Singh concluded by quoting Nehru, "Indians should be loyal to the country they are living while retaining a place in their heart for India, the country of their origin." and then added that the Indians here have lived up to Nehru's expectations. 

The reception was attended by several prominent Indians, including LN Mittal, Lord Swraj Paul, Lord Billimori, Lord Rana from Belfast and Vikram Seth.