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15th Pravasi Bharitiya Divas

9 January 2019

Hon. Minister of Culture and Arts Mr. Prithvirajsingh Roopun,

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture Mrs. Rajwantee Ramrukhea,

The Distinguished Heads and Representatives of various Socio-Cultural organizations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I extend a very warm welcome to all of you, as we celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

I would like to begin by expressing our gratitude to the Hon. Minister of Culture and Arts for sparing his time to join us here today.

I would like to thank the Chairperson of Apravasi Ghat Trust Fund Mr. Dharam Yash Deo Dhuny for his remarks and Smt. Acharya Pratishtha, the Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture for her welcome remarks.

May I also extend our deep appreciation to Mrs. Neetusha Ramprogus for her beautiful rendering of Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan Vaishnav Janto, and thank the artists of the IGCIC for their cultural presentation.

Distinguished guests,

Today is my third working day here in this beautiful country and I am delighted that this is the first public engagement that we are hosting since my arrival.

As is well known 9th January was chosen to mark the Pravasi Bharitiya Divas as it commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest Pravasis to India. The day celebrates the close and enduring ties between India and the Indian Diaspora.

You are also aware that this year these celebrations are being held in India at a very large scale in Varanasi and will also coincide with the Kumbh Mela, which is among the largest gathering of pilgrims anywhere in the world.

We are therefore greatly honoured that Hon. Prime Minister of Mauritius H.E. Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth has accepted our request to be the Chief Guest at this year’s very special 15th Pravasi Bharitiya Divas celebrations in Varanasi. We are also excited to see that around 350 persons from Mauritius are also travelling to attend these celebrations. Their participation will make these celebrations extra special for all of us.

During my call on Hon. Prime Minister yesterday, he told me that he was greatly looking forward to his participation at these celebrations.

Distinguished guests,

Human history has been one of migrations in different forms and under different circumstances. Both our countries and our peoples are living examples of this. Our connect goes back to the difficult colonial times. Despite our hardships and struggles, today, both our nations have marched ahead with their destinies being shaped by their industrious peoples. Our nations stand transformed today through the hard work of their citizens. Both our countries also draw their strength from their immense diversity.

Despite our unique experiences of development and nation building, our peoples have retained close familial and cultural and spiritual linkages and this forms the bedrock of the very special relationship between Mauritius and India. This is a relationship that is so unique that it is difficult to imagine any other comparable relationship between two nations.

Distinguished guests,

Our special relationship is manifest in several different ways. Many of you would be familiar with the special arrangement for OCI cards especially for the Diaspora in Mauritius. We are also proud that both our countries are working together on a range of infrastructure and development partnership projects.

Distinguished guests,

I am happy that today we have amongst us nine winners of the quiz on Bharat ko Jaaniye.

They will shortly receive medals awarded by our Ministry of External Affairs. I congratulate all of them, and especially the winners for having engaged with this initiative.

I also understand that 9 young Mauritians are currently in India as part of Know India Programme. They will also participate in the Pravasi Bharitiya Divas and visit Kumbh Mela.

We will also have the honour of presenting a special Letter of Appreciation to Ms. Neetusha Ramprogus from our Minister of External Affairs.

May I again thank each one of you for being here this evening. We greatly appreciate the immense contribution that all of you are making to strengthen our close bonds and look forward to continue our close association.

 

Thank you.

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