On Gandhi Jayani (Oct. 2nd), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the issue of "brain drain" can be converted into "brain gain" if the nation started looking at the 27-million-strong Indians living abroad spread across the world as a strength rather than a number at the opening of the first Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi, for overseas Indians as a landmark step in India's effort to engage the Diaspora. The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra is a state-of-the-art complex dedicated to overseas Indians.
"In more than 150 countries we've presence of Pravasi Bhartiyas. They are a huge strength for our Missions," he added.
Noting that the world was more keen now than earlier "to engage with India", he said: "In such times 'fear of unknown' can be an obstacle. Our Diaspora can help overcome this. They just have to tell the world that we belong to India."
The Prime Minister stressed on the need to connect with Indians living abroad and hailed his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee who "coined idea of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and it has been continued since then".
PM Modi also said that it was very appropriate to inaugurate the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. "Gandhiji had left India but the call of the nation brought him back. Nothing can be a bigger inspiration than this," he said.
Photo above: PM Modi inaugurates Pravasi Bhavan in New Delhi. From l. to r.: PM Modi, Minister of External Affair Sushma Swaraj, Ministers of State M.J. Akbar and Vijay Kumar singh and Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra located in south Delhi's Chanakyapuri will serve as the focal point of the institutional framework to benefit from networks with and among overseas Indians.
"Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra shows what it means to be an Indian, the meaning of association with India."
"It is home to 27 million PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) and NRIs (Non Resident Indians). It can act as a focal point for even those Pravasis who are still searching for their roots in India," said PM Modi.
The centre is expected to develop into the hub of activities for sustainable, symbiotic and mutually rewarding economic, social and cultural engagement between India and its Diaspora.