On the sidelines of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s foreign affairs department says why India step up in sharing vaccines when many others dithered
“Prime minister Narendra Modi’s efforts are bearing fruit now. India’s position is taken seriously all over the world now”.
In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, Vijay Chauthaiwale, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s foreign affairs department, spoke in detail on how Prime minister Narendra Modi lifted India’s stature in the world.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Indore, Chauthaiwale also spoke about the role of the Indian diaspora in achieving PM Modi’s vision.
Excerpt from the interview…
Urvashi Khona: It was a very remarkable day today with the Indian diaspora coming together. Your thoughts on PM Modi’s call for the diaspora to become India’s ambassadors
Vijay Chauthaiwale: This is a very unique event with a unique set-up. Only in India, this kind of event happens every two years. We have people from the Indian diaspora coming here to reclaim their connection with India.
Indians, wherever they go, are famous for their hospitality, for preserving their culture, at the same time being modern, very law-abiding, and contributing to the local economy. And also very well mixed with the local culture.
So, all these qualities of non-resident Indians are ideal for presenting the brand of India to foreigners. And in that context, the Prime minister said that you are our brand ambassador.
UK: How do you look at this whole three-day event?
VC: See, in the last eight years, PM Modi’s efforts are now bearing fruit. India’s position is taken very seriously all over the world. So, in that context, when these people come here and see the prosperity of India, for example, they have come to Indore and Indore is the cleanest city and also the most industrious city in the nation.
Seeing this kind of development sends a very positive message to them, which they can then share with the local communities. So, in that respect, I think this event is very important.
UK: In the backdrop of COVID, PM Modi also made a statement, noting that India played a very important role with respect to the export of vaccines. How do you see India emerging as a global leader?
VC: I think India, for ages, is always a friendly country. We have a very famous saying, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It is reflected not only in our words, but also in our actions and deeds.
And in that respect, even during COVID, we have supplied medicines, PPE kits, and masks to several countries. And under the vaccine maitri, many countries were given free vaccines. India also gave vaccines to many countries at a highly subsidised rate.
There are several examples where the heads of those countries openly admitted it, and, even today, you have seen what kind of gratitude they were expressing towards India. So, it is in India’s DNA to help others in an hour of crisis, and that has only been reflected even during COVID.
UK: With respect to the crisis, especially in Russia and Ukraine, India has been able to maintain a balance in its approach.
VC: Well, the Prime Minister has clearly said that this is not an era of war and this has been taken seriously by everyone. Initially, there was some criticism of India’s stand, but later on everyone realised that it was a nuanced approach. It is also in India’s interest. And therefore, rather than blaming, we are striving for tranquillity and peace in that region.
And, if the opportunity arises, India will play an important role.
UK: How do you foresee the path for Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas?
VC: I believe those who have come here will take away a very positive message. They are getting energised by PM Modi’s speech. They will take the message that India is there to give solutions to many issues being faced today, not only the Ukraine crisis, but also supply chain issues, climate change, and also supplying affordable medicines to the world.
So there are many things India can afford and is willing to afford for the world.