The safety, security, welfare and well-being of all Indian citizens abroad is a priority for the nation, President Ram Nath Kovind has said while praising the achievements of the Diaspora who have taken small measures to formulate the policies of their respective countries and play a role in “changing the geopolitics of the region”. “The Indian community abroad is our strength and our pride,” Kovind said at the Indian community reception in Amsterdam.
Kovind arrived in Amsterdam on Monday from Turkmenistan on the final leg of his visit to the two countries. This is India’s first presidential trip to the Netherlands after 34 years since the visit of 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 talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on bilateral issues. “When I read about your accomplishments, when you hold a big office or file a candidacy, taking small steps towards shaping the policies of your respective countries, you are playing a part in changing the geopolitics of the region. Remember not that the land of your ancestors is very proud of you,” Kovind told the Indian diaspora.
He said the safety, security, welfare and welfare of Indian citizens in all parts of the world is a priority for India. “Across the globe, over the past two years, the government has made special efforts to bring our citizens home during the worst phase of the COVID-19 pandemic by undertaking the Vande Bharat mission,” said he declared.
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“Recently, Operation Ganga brought back more than 23,000 Indian citizens, mostly students, who were stranded in the conflict zone in Ukraine. As Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) said, humanity was at the heart of Operation Ganga, not passport color,” Kovind pointed out. Addressing the diaspora, the President said that just like tulips, which did not originate in 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 fitting that the joint logo for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations has a tulip and a lotus as the main symbols of friendship,” he said. Kovind noted that the Indian community in the Netherlands is the largest ethnic Indian diaspora in continental Europe with over 200,000 members of the Hindustani-Surinam community and over 60,000 Indian professionals and students.
“The Indian community is the most important pillar of the growing bilateral relations between India and the Netherlands and serves as a bridge not only between India and the Netherlands, but between India and Europe”, did he declare. Noting that Indian professionals in the Netherlands have been extremely successful, the President said that as entrepreneurs, doctors, bankers and technology experts they add immense value to Dutch society and economy as well as to the global community as a whole.
The Netherlands is also home to a huge number of Indian students who are excelling on campus in studies, research and innovation, Kovind said, adding that he was happy to see the community continue to grow. “India is deeply committed to strengthening its ties with the Diaspora and meeting your needs. Over the past few years, our engagement and awareness of the Indian Diaspora has multiplied. We have taken several initiatives under the maxim of 4Cs – Care, connect, celebrate and contribute,” he said.
The President pointed out that Overseas Citizen of India cards were issued to give status and privileges in many areas. The trip to India has been facilitated by the issuance of a long-term visa and an electronic visa. “To increase the participation of diaspora youth and familiarize them with Indian youth and their Indian roots, we have launched the Know India Program and the Diaspora Children’s Scholarship Program for the children of people from Indian origin to join Indian universities for higher education” he said.