New Delhi [India], December 22 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that Indian diaspora in foreign countries have played an influential role in building a global perception of India, and termed them as 'extended family' while focusing on the need for their welfare.
Speaking during a conference titled 'Forging Media and Entertainment Partnerships to showcase India@75' organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Jaishankar said: "We have long recognised that pravasis (Indians living abroad) have played a role in influencing how the world perceives us, their individual and collective accomplishments are taken as our national traits abroad."
"Pravasis are our extended family, they live abroad, but remain deeply connected in heart and soul with us. We take great pride in their achievements, and there is always a strong sense of responsibility towards their welfare," he added.
The minister also asserted that during times of trouble, India will do whatever it takes for the welfare of its people abroad, and the government will deliver on its promises. "This is the attitude and capability with which we have approached the Pravasi world as near India@75," he said.
He also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's initiative of Vande Bharat Mission to facilitate the repatriation of Indians stranded in foreign countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While speaking on the role of media, Jaishankar noted that there was a greater recognition of India's rapid health infrastructure development, high Covid-19 recovery rates and low fatality rates, but said that India's assistance to most vulnerable countries was 'less than fairly' covered by the media abroad.
"There were scare-mongering efforts and distorted pictures that sought to lower our national morale," he remarked, adding that today, India's voice in international councils is more effective, as its ability to shape outcomes in major negotiations such as climate change.
While speaking on entertainment, the EAM said that global perception of India was also shaped by cultural attributes.
"For decades now, the world has appreciated our visual, creative and performing arts. Today, our traditions are even more widely prevalent. By its very nature, these are spheres which are people-centric and people-driven. Our government can certainly make a contribution through facilitation, encouragement and even support," he said.
He later remarked that a multipolar world is inevitably headed for cultural rebalancing, as it has for economic and political ones.
The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is celebrated every year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
It is celebrated in India on January 9 since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India's freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever. (ANI)