Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “whirl wind-tours” and “out-of the box initiatives” for bringing about a sea-change in India’s global image, the Union Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said even softer powers like Yoga, Indian Curry and Bollywood songs have contributed to enhancing the “image of a new India”.
Addressing a gathering of young NRIs who had arrived from 40-odd countries for the second Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Swaraj said, “India’s soft power has been spreading around the world. Be it Californians doing yoga, or Britishers eating Indian Curry or Egyptians dancing to Hindi Songs; they all are contributing to the image of a new India.”
Crediting Modi for the improvement in India’s global image, the minister said, “The intensity of India’s international engagement has also increased manifold. This can been seen from the calendar of high level visits both to and from India. Prime Minister Modi’s out-of-the-box initiatives and whirlwind tours have raised India’s global profile.”
Describing India as a nation that given the world the concept of ‘zero’, mastered the nuclear cycle, sent expeditions to Antarctica and sent an unmanned mission to moon and Mars, the minister said, “What excites the world today is the Indian economy which is the third largest in terms of purchasing power parity. India is showing new dynamism under the present NDA government. Though we have been in office for less than eight months, we have been able to effect a complete transformation of the business sentiments vis-a-vis India.”
Sushma Swaraj did not fail to impress upon the youngsters that the India’s Mars orbiter, costing approximately 25 million USD, was “cheaper than the budget of the Hollywood film ‘Gravity'”.
The minister also told the gathering of how the people of Jammu & Kashmir had voted “overwhelmingly for a peaceful change” last month. She also did not forget to highlight all the initiatives launched by the Modi-government to the audience, which included Jan Dhan Yojana, Swaach Bharat Campaign, Make in India programme, Digital India and Smart Cities project.
“Efforts are on to identify obsolete laws and regulations which need to be repealed,” the minister said adding that NDA government was trying to enhance ease of doing business by taking multiple steps to simplify procedures, rationalise rules and increase use of technology for efficient and effective governance.
She also called upon the NRI youth to join in the country’s progress. “There are tremendous opportunities today for you to join us, especially in the fields of manufacturing, infrastructure development, education, health, skill development, science and technology, and others,” she said asking the young NRI brigade to become “ambassadors of the new India”.
However, some of the NRIs who was present at the Youth PBD expected more “action” from the Modi government. Sharing his personal experiences, Dr Rajindre Tewari who is heading a delegation from Holland to Gujarat and has been regularly attending Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in India says, “There is a lot of hype about Modi in this edition of PBD. What we need to see is more action and implementation. The upcoming annual budget will be a big test for the NDA government.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and unveil the 41-meter high salt mound that has been christened as “Dandi Kutir”. The salt mound is a four-floor museum dedicated entirely to Mahatma Gandhi and is located just opposite Mahatma Mandir complex, the venue of PBD at Gandhinagar.