India to strengthen ties with PIOs in Holland | india | Hindustan Times
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India to strengthen ties with PIOs in Holland

Govt will sponsor initiatives by the PIOs in Holland, also called 'Suriname Hindustanis', trace their roots in India.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 15:11 IST

The Indian government is planning to support a project to strengthen the longstanding ties between the people of Indian origin (PIOs) in Holland with the land of their forefathers.

The Foundation for Critical Choices for India (FCCI), also called 'a think tank of overseas Indians', celebrated its silver jubilee at The Hague last weekend.

Speaking at the function Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi said that the government is looking forward to sponsoring initiatives to enable these PIOs, who call themselves 'Suriname Hindustanis', trace their roots in India, collaborate on cultural exchange programmes and support their institutions in the Netherlands.

Suriname Hindustanis are people whose ancestors were taken as indentured labour from India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work at plantations in Caribbean countries.

This migration stopped in 1916 following a movement by Mahatma Gandhi. The descendants of these people later migrated to the Netherlands, which was ruled by Suriname in those days.

Today, the Netherlands is home to about 170,000 Suriname Hindustanis.

Ravi said that the government, through its ambassador in the Netherlands, is working to finalise a social security agreement with the Netherlands that will enable Indians who have lived and worked there to draw their social security benefits even when they relocate to India after their superannuation.

"Congratulating FCCI for completing 25 years dedicated to engaging with critical issues related to India and the role of the Indian diaspora. I look forward to foster the strong roots between the PIOs and India" he added.

Ravi, who was accompanied by G Gurucharan, joint secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), also visited the Sri Vishnu School in The Hague, which is run by the Sanatan Hindu Parishad.

The Parishad runs four such schools in the Netherlands - one each in The Hague and Rotterdam and two in Amsterdam. These schools, which have strived to retain Indian culture and roots, have gained a reputation for producing top academic talent.

An impressed Ravi asked L.K. Ponappa, India's ambassador to Netherlands, to give proposals that will enable the MOIA to give scholarships to students of these schools.