Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, after addressing the Indian Diaspora earlier today, is hosting the Gala Dinner at the ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2018. While addressing the people gathered for dinner, Swaraj said, “Wherever I have gone, I have been told a few things about Non-Resident Indians – Indians are good neighbours, Indians are hard working people, Indians are law abiding citizens. This fills me with immense pride.” While crediting the reputation of India across the world to PM Narendra Modi, Swaraj said, “The increasing dominance & reputation of India in the world is because of the personality of Prime Minister Modi. In whichever country he goes, he makes strong individual friendship in addition to establishing good relations between two countries.”
Swaraj then went on to talk about Singapore ambassador Jawed Ashraf and said, “Your ambassador Jawed Ashraf, sitting here, is an epitome of sensitiveness. He reaches whenever and wherever an organisation of any community or religion calls him. All organisations celebrate their festivals accordingly. India is a land of festivals.” She then talked about festivals and said, “Kerala celebrates Onam, Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal, Bengal celebrates Durga Puja, Assam celebrates Bihu, Punjab celebrates Baisakhi and Telugu community celebrates Ugadi, Gujarat participates in Garba while Maharashtra celebrates Ganes utsav.”
Swaraj added, “Holi, Diwali, Eid and Christmas are the festivals of entire India. Wherever Jawed (Ashraf) be called, be it a temple, mosque or a church, he not only comes there but also celebrates it enthusiastically.”
Earlier in the day, MEA Swaraj said that India’s partnership with ASEAN has evolved into a strategic partnership and the Indian diaspora provides a platform for stronger ties with the grouping. Addressing the Indian diaspora at the ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, Swaraj reaffirmed India’s commitment to ASEAN. “We are here to reaffirm our commitment and to share the course of our journey ahead to the future of India and ASEAN in the world,” Swaraj told some 3,000 delegates. “Our diaspora provides a platform for a stronger relationship between India and ASEAN countries,” she said.
Noting the 25-year milestone of ASEAN-India partnership, she said, “Our dialogue partnership has evolved into a strategic partnership.” “India’s engagement with the ASEAN region lies in the clarity of the principles that we share. We believe that when all nations adhere to international rules and norms and when we conduct on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect, our nations feel secure and our economies prosper,” Swaraj said.