NEW DELHI :
Skilled migrants from India, who number prominently among the 31 million strong Indian diaspora across the world, have dramatically changed the world’s perception of the country and Indians with their achievements, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said Monday.
In her inaugural address at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi, Swaraj also said that India’s youth demographic was its greatest strength, offering the country an unprecedented edge over countries like the US, Japan and China that were ageing rapidly.
The Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas marked the start of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) that seeks to reconnect Indian expatriates and diaspora with their motherland. The main event takes place on Tuesday and will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of chief guest of the event Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
“While the Indian diaspora started migrating centuries ago, it is the migration of the educated, highly skilled and dynamic young Indians that has brought laurels to India," Swaraj said, noting that many of the multinational corporations were headed by young Indian-origin CEOs such as Sundar Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft.
“Our diaspora has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians, and of India as well. They have kindled a new wave of appreciation for this land which has produced and exported so many achievers. The benchmarks for success, which the Pravasi community has set, is a motivation for us in India.
“They encourage us to create a business, investment and economic climate, which is as conducive to success as anywhere else in the world," Swaraj said.
Referring to India’s youth advantage, Swaraj said by 2020, the average age of Indians would be 29 years, making Asia’s third largest economy the world’s youngest country with 64% of the population in the working age group.
“While countries like the US (and those in) Western Europe, Japan and even China are ageing rapidly, India is getting younger and younger. By 2022, these ageing countries will become super-aged with over one-third of their population over 65 years of age, while India will have the world’s largest working population. This demographic prospect offers India an unprecedented edge, which could further contribute to building a New Young India by 2022," she said.
India is projected to be the source of skilled manpower to the world by 2022, the minister said, adding the Skill India initiative announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aimed at making India ready to become the Skill capital of the world by 2022.
“Our aim is to not just export ‘manpower’ to the world, but to export ‘skills’," the minister said, adding “exporting ‘skilled’ manpower will not only garner a better image for India on the global space, but will also lead to better salaries and better remittances, thus raising India’s GDP further."
Swaraj also invited Indian origin entrepreneurs to invest in start-ups and innovation programmes that Modi had unveiled since taking office in May 2014.