My dear Indian brothers and sisters here in Qatar,
Namaskaram, Vanakam, Aslam Aleikum, Good Evening
Greetings to one and all.
I am joined here by Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar (from Maharashtra)
Member of Parliament Shri Sushil Kumar Modi (from Bihar)
Member of Parliament Shri Vijay Pal Singh Tomar (from Uttar Pradesh)
Member of Parliament Shri P. Raveendranath (from Tamil Nadu)
We bring you warm wishes from 1.35 billion brothers & sisters in India
I am so happy to see all of you in person today. In the last two years of our lives, most of us had to restrict ourselves to virtual engagements.
I see a mini-India here in the room. We have:
the torch-bearers of our future generation–the young students and the people shaping their minds–the teachers
fishermen brothers who are contributing to the food security of Qatar;
the workers working hard daily for their honest livelihoods;
the professionals, including doctors, engineers, nurses, chartered accountants, scientists who are adding value to their positions with their passion and ingenuity;
diaspora members from all over India who are fostering a strong connection with our cultural heritage and serving the local Indian community passionately;
Indian business people who are strengthening trade & economic partnerships; and
the Indian Armed Forces Veterans who after diligently serving India are adding value through their experiences to our trusted partner Qatar.
Indeed, the diversity of our community in Qatar is extraordinary.
I am glad to see a strong representation from Telangana and the Andhra. Mimmalni Qatar lo ila kalustunnanduku chaala santhoshamga undi. Andari kshemame ani aasistunnanu. [It’s nice to see you in Qatar. I hope everyone is doing good]
My brothers and sisters,
I must tell you that over the past two days, I have met His Highness, the Father Amir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani; Speaker of the Shura Council and other dignitaries from Qatar. They all spoke very highly about the entire Indian community and valued your positive contribution to the country’s development. I told them that Indian community in Qatar appreciates the opportunity given to them and are as proud of Qatar as they are of their Indian heritage.
I thank His Highness, the Amir, His Highness, Father Amir, Her Highness Sheikha Moza, His Highness the Deputy Amir, and the Prime Minister of Qatar for their continued patronage and support to the Indian community in Qatar.
Sisters and brothers,
The 7.80 lakh strong Indian community in Qatar is a living bridge between the two countries. Some of you have stayed here for over 40 years. You would have noted how well India-Qatar’s ties have progressed since Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi activated the Look West policy. He has taken a personal interest in actively engaging with the Qatari leadership.
We are witnessing a deepening of the relations between India and Qatar. I acknowledge contributions of each one of you in creating a positive environment in which the bilateral relations continue to grow and prosper.
Despite the COVID-19 challenge, we recorded the highest ever bilateral trade of over US$ 15 billion last year. India was Qatar’s third-largest trading partner. Since March 2020, Qatar’s Foreign Direct Investment in India has increased five folds. Over 50 wholly-owned Indian companies in Qatar in diverse fields such as infrastructure, information technology, and energy and the 15,000 jointly owned companies are adding momentum to the India-Qatar economic partnership.
We are building a comprehensive energy partnership. Cooperation between India and Qatar is strengthening in defence, security, healthcare and education. Yesterday, we agreed to establish an Indian Chair at Qatar University and to pursue cooperation in the fields of sports and culture. We also launched a start-up bridge between India and Qatar to link the innovative ecosystems of the two countries.
India and Qatar will soon mark the 50th anniversary of India and Qatar establishing full diplomatic relations. I am confident that you will participate enthusiastically in the planned events jointly with the Qatari side.
India is not far, and I am sure you visit home often. I am confident that you would have noticed the positive transformation happening within the country.
This shift was visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indians should be proud of how India demonstrated its ability to overcome one of the most difficult challenges the entire world faced. Our COVID-19 immunization program is the largest in the world, and 90% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.
Over 2 billion doses have been administered in the country. Our Made in India vaccines allowed us to ramp up the immunization efforts quickly and efficiently. We even supplied these vaccines to 95 countries.
It is no small achievement that we could minimize the negative impact of the disruption caused by the Pandemic.
The Government has been working with a vision for the future, a vision to create a new India we can all be proud of.
Today, the Government is integrating technology at its core for the welfare of the people and making it people-centric to transform governance and delivery of services. Our focus is to leverage the application of science and technology to change people’s lives for the better.
A few years back, the Government embarked on an ambitious Mission of Digital India.
This proved fruitful during the COVID-19 pandemic as every entitled beneficiary was provided assistance by the direct transfer of assistance to the bank accounts.
The digital infrastructure created in the last few years allowed education to go online when schools and universities were closed throughout the country. The Aarogya Setu app allowed effective contact tracing. COWIN Platform is assisting in Covid vaccination.
It has also allowed innovators and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the most prominent digital market. And the change has impacted everyone positively.
Even the local vegetable vendor in India is now collecting his money through UPI.
India now accounts for almost 40% of the real-time digital payments globally.
Now, we have embarked on a journey of introducing 5G, which will contribute $450 billion to India’s economy in the next decade and a half. We have also started working on 6G services, and a task force has already begun work to launch it within the next ten years. India’s telecom sector is now working with the Mantra of ‘Panchamrita’ of Reach, Reform, Regulate, Respond and Revolutionize.
The youth is now feeling empowered today. The Government has provided them with an innovative ecosystem to tap their potential for entrepreneurship and build new Start-ups. Today, there are about 70 thousand recognized start-ups in our country. It has been a result of a proactive Start-up policy. Today, India has the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world.
The new National Education Policy provides a blue print for creating an accessible, high quality education system with focus on creativity and excellence.
India is investing in modernizing its infrastructure and paving the way for a US$ 5 trillion economy. An investment of $1.3 trillion is being made, especially in connectivity infrastructure. India has also launched the Gati Shakti National Master Plan for better planning and coordination of infrastructure connectivity projects. In the last seven years, the length of national highways has gone up by more than 50%, even despite Covid-19 restrictions.
We are emphasizing on Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business.
Today, India is setting new benchmarks in quality of life, ease of employment, quality of education, ease of mobility, quality of travel, and ease quality of services and products.
Today, India is Making for the World, and our merchandise exports crossed the target of US$ 400 billion for the first time in India’s history.
Underlying our constitutional architecture is the firm foundation of ‘inclusion’, of leaving no one behind. It is the vision that finds an echo in the overarching philosophy of the present Government, led by Prime Minister Modi that believes in “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas”.
We care for everyone, especially those marginalized and who need support. It is highlighted by the free distribution of food grains under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana to over 80 crore people to ensure that no poor household went to bed without during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Ayushman Bharat that ensures healthcare by providing health insurance to over 50 crore people.
India continues to be at the forefront of contributing to international policies -reflecting the country’s strong belief in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or the ‘World is One Family’.
India is following the vision of ‘One Earth, One Health’. Living up to our reputation as ‘Pharmacy of the world’, we saved millions of lives by providing necessary medicines and vaccines to over 150 countries.
In April this year, we laid the foundation of “WHO Centre for Traditional Medicine” in India to promote scientific research in the area of Traditional Medicine and make it available to everyone in the world.
India has also announced a net-zero emission target by 2070 despite our development challenges and historically very low emissions. Prime Minister Modi has given the concept of the Green Grids Initiative—One Sun One World One Grid which was launched along with the UK in November last year.
We have taken the lead in launching the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
The list of initiatives is long and impressive but underlying them is the overarching vision of Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi who believes in the mantra ‘reform, perform, transform’ and wants every Indian citizen to be a change agent.
My fellow Indians,
Your strength is India’s strength, and India’s power is your power.
Today, an Indian outside the country can rest assured that the Government of India will take care of them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vande Bharat Mission was the largest repatriation mission by any Indian Government. Recently, Operation Ganga brought back more than 23,000 Indian citizens, largely students, who were stranded in the conflict zone in Ukraine. Operation Devi Shakti was another evacuation effort in Afghanistan carried out in difficult circumstances.
The Government is strengthening links with the Indian diaspora. The success of each one of you and other members of the overseas Indian family has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians and India. Your welfare remains our priority.
This is the time for India’s ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. As India celebrates the 75 years of its independence through the Mahotsav, every Indian should be proud of our achievements since independence and march forward with confidence and commitment to realize a New India and an Atmarnirbhar Bharat.
At the same time, we must think ahead about what we need to do in the next 25 years or the Amrit Kaal. Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an occasion to pledge for a new and powerful India. I am confident that with a collective effort, you all will work towards this ambition.
I’m pleased to know that the Indian community in Qatar is actively celebrating 50 Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Through your enthusiastic participation, you are celebrating our cultural heritage and values.
Building a strong connection with the country is essential for not only preserving our rich heritage but also passing it on to the next generation.
My fellow Indians,
I want to stress that it is important to maintain your link with the Janma Bhoomi. Your Karma Bhoomi is Qatar and you should dedicate yourself to Qatar’s progress. At the same time don’t forget your Matru Bhoomi, India. Each of you can contribute to the rapid socio-economic development and transformation happening in India. We can immensely gain from the skills and talents of the diaspora. I always say go, learn, earn and return to the motherland. Try to explore how you can also join in the national efforts to make a difference in the lives of fellow Indians.
Let us all pledge to work towards a New India that shares the fruits of development with all and achieve a Sankalpit Bharat, Sashakt Bharat, Atmarnirbhar Bharat and a Shreshta Bharat.