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    Indian community abroad playing a role in changing region's geo-politics: President Kovind

    Indian community abroad playing a role in changing region's geo-politics: President Kovind

    Indian community abroad playing a role in changing region's geo-politics: President Kovind
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    By PTI  IST (Published)

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    Kovind arrived in Amsterdam on Monday from Turkmenistan on the concluding leg of his two-nation visit. It is India's first Presidential trip to the Netherlands after 34 years since the visit of then President R Venkataraman in 1988.

    The safety, security, welfare and wellbeing of all Indian citizens abroad is a priority for the nation, President Ram Nath Kovind said as he lauded the achievements of the diaspora which has been taking small steps towards formulating the policies of their respective countries and playing a role in "changing the geo-politics of the region". "The Indian community abroad is our strength and pride," Kovind said at the Indian Community Reception in Amsterdam.
    Kovind arrived in Amsterdam on Monday from Turkmenistan on the concluding leg of his two-nation visit. It is India's first Presidential trip to the Netherlands after 34 years since the visit of then President R Venkataraman in 1988.
    During his visit to the Netherlands from April 4 to 7, at the invitation of King Alexander and Queen Maxima, President Kovind also held discussions with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on bilateral issues. "When I read about your achievements, when you occupy a big office or file a nomination, taking small steps towards formulating the policies of your respective countries, you are playing a role in changing the geo-politics of the region. Please remember that the land of your ancestors is very proud of you," Kovind told the Indian diaspora.
    He said the safety, security, welfare and well-being of Indian citizens in all parts of the world is a priority for India. "In every corner of the world, over the last two years, the government has made special efforts to enable our citizens to return home during the worst phase of the COVID-19 pandemic by undertaking the Vande Bharat mission," he said.
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    "Recently, Operation Ganga brought back more than 23,000 Indian citizens, largely students, who were stranded in the conflict zone in Ukraine. As the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) said, humanity was at the core of the Operation Ganga, not the colour of passport," Kovind underlined. Addressing the diaspora, the President said just like tulips, which are not native to the Netherlands but have now become a distinct aspect of the country, the Indian community here has become "great representatives of this wonderful country."
    "It is also apt that the joint logo for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relationship has a tulip and a lotus as our primary symbols of friendship," he said. Kovind noted that the Indian community in the Netherlands is the largest Indian-origin diaspora in mainland Europe with more than 2,00,000 members of Hindustani-Surinami community and more than 60,000 Indian professionals and students.
    "The Indian community is the most important pillar of growing India-Netherlands bilateral relations and serves as a bridge between not just India and the Netherlands, but between India and Europe," he said. Noting that Indian professionals in the Netherlands have done extremely well, the President said, as entrepreneurs, doctors, bankers and technology experts, they are adding immense value to the Dutch society and economy as well as the global community at large.
    The Netherlands is also home to a substantially large number of Indian students who are excelling on campus in studies, research, and innovation, Kovind said, adding that he is pleased to note that the community is continuously expanding. "India is deeply committed to strengthen its bond with the diaspora and to attend to your needs. In the past few years, our engagement with and outreach to the Indian diaspora has grown manifold. We have taken several initiatives under the maxim of 4Cs — Care, Connect, Celebrate and Contribute," he said.
    The President underlined that the Overseas Citizen of India cards have been issued to give status and privileges in many areas. The travel to India has been facilitated through issuance of long-term visa and E-visa. "To increase the participation of the diaspora youth and familiarize them with the Indian youth and their Indian roots, we started the Know India Programme and Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children for the children of Person of Indian Origin to join Indian universities for higher education," he said.
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