Asean-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Opens On A High Note

1/6/2018 1:13:18 PM
written By : Team India Se Print

The Asean-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas started off on a high note with Senior Ministers from both countries reiterating the potential of partnership between the two regions. Full credit to this well-attended event goes to the Indian High Commission in Singapore led by the High Commissioner, HE Jawed Ashraf who has worked relentlessly for the past few months to make this a success. Ashraf, who has been here, for a little more than a year, has managed to bring in a set of dynamic and influential personalities from the diaspora, who continue to contribute significantly to the growth of India and Asean.

Opening the plenary session, India’s High Commissioner to Singapore HE Javed Ashraf, was unstinting in his praise for both the ministers who have been key in forging this infrastructure collaboration between the two countries.

Speaking about the strong partnership between India and Singapore, he said, “today, our opening panel could not have been better. We are fortunate to have with us S Iswaran (Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry). There are few ministers in the world as invested in engaging with India or who understand India and the nuances of competitive and cooperative federalism in India the way he does. In many ways, the iconic Amravati project and much else that we are doing are the result of his beliefs and his efforts.”

About India's Minister for Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari, who flew in for the event despite pressing problems in his home state of Maharashtra, Ashraf had equally fulsome praise. “The optimism and confidence about India’s economic future both in India and the world stem largely in part from what minister (Nitin Gadkari) is doing to transform India’s infrastructure and at speed, safety and quality that is simply unprecedented. He has made India the best infrastructure story in the world. And it is entirely in character with his commitment, boundless energy and generosity of spirit that he has come here all the way for us for just one hour, despite a sudden compelling need to be in his home state.”

Welcoming the guests, Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman of Institute of South Asian Studies commended the Indian High Commission’s efforts in organizing the India-Asean Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here in Singapore and said, “In the last 25 years has progressed from strength to strength. Asean India trade has touched $20 billion in 2017.”

At the Asean India Economic Partnership discussion, the first session of the morning, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran said, that the opportunity for collaboration is self-evident. Both regions have strong growth anchored by good fundamentals. “Both regions are integrated markets but is not homogenous. That is an opportunity and challenge for investors,” he said.

Stressing the importance of infrastructure development, Iswaran said that Singapore has been helping out in the Amravati project. He said that some of the areas of collaboration between India and Singapore are in setting up of Smart Cities, Start-ups and innovations, digital economy and ecommerce and finally creating a “larger enabling environment for services.” “In Asean there is a clear impetus to integrate markets to realise potential of the region. India too we are seeing the same. India, China and Asean growth leading the global economy. It is time to pool resources,” he said.

Highlighting the progress made in the infrastructure sector in India, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation said that country has started various initiatives to improve connectivity.

On the roads front, he said that the Bharat Mala highway project was one such initiative. The government is also planning to build more express highways, improve road network in North-east India that will connect Nepal, Burma and other adjoining countries and building the Zojila tunnel, the highest in the world connecting Jammu & Kashmir with Ladakh.

Sagar Mala project connecting various ports located on 7,500km long coast line and inland waterways are also high on the government’s priority. “All our ports are profitable. We expecting Rs 7000 crore profit this year,” he said.

Another project high up in the Modi government’s priority list the Clean Ganga Mission. Gadkari said that the “Clean Ganga mission to be completed by 2019 end.” He sought the help of the Indian diaspora to participate in this project by sponsoring it. The government is planning to improve ghats, build gardens and landscape the area. “You can all be involved in this by sponsoring various aspects of the project,” he told members of the diaspora present at the inauguration.

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