On the concluding day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in New Delhi, fifteen prominent overseas Indians for all over the world who have excelled in their respective fields were honoured by the President of India, Mr. A P J Abdul Kalam. The awardees included two stalwarts from the Gulf – Dr. B. R. Shetty, President of the NMC Group of Companies and Mr. Syed M. Salahuddin, Managing Director of the ETA Ascon.
The largest number – four – of the awardees is from the United States. Two are from the United Arab Emirates and the others from the United Kingdom, Canada, Fiji, Portugal, Kenya, Malaysia, Germany, Jamaica and South Africa. The other award winners are: Dave Sukhdip Singh Hayer (Canada), Sir Moti Tikaram (Fiji), Sibabrata Roy (Germany), P. Jayaraman, Nirmal K. Sinha, Dr. M. Anirudhan and Gopal Raju (all from the US), Kenneth S. Benjamin (Jamaica), Pheroze Nowrojee (Kenya), Abdool Magid Abdool Karim Vakil (Portugal), Billy Nair (South Africa), Dr. K.R Somasundaram (Malaysia) and Lord Daljit Rana (United Kingdom).
The President praised the overseas Indians for keeping India high in their respective countries and also for their concern and support for their mother India. He spoke on his theme ‘World Knowledge Platform – A Mission’ and provide the overseas Indians with his vision on what he can give as a message to overseas Indians. He asked the overseas Indians to work unitedly to alleviate the problems of their brethren in their respective countries and work with dignity for the success of their adopted countries. In particular, he mentioned that large number of people of Indian origin living abroad do not have proper education and have no opportunity to upgrade their skills. They don’t have time to empower themselves to higher education and higher earning potential. He proposed that while we meet annually in India, we should also select 10 places in different parts of the world and hold a meeting at least once in two years and invite those who cannot afford to participate on their own with their families. Meanwhile, empowering them with education and training must commence immediately. He spoke of launching a World Knowledge Platform to achieve this global objective through collaboration similar to the Bramhos missile project which was achieved in record time through a Indo – Soviet joint venture. The success of the Bramhos project is through the shared expertise of two countries and this product is internationally competitive and is the fastest operational cruise missile existing in the world today and can be launched from any type of platform – land, seas and air and precisely reach the targets either on land or at sea with high lethal effect.