Two day PBD-Singapore meet to begin from Jan 7

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New Delhi, Oct 8: A two-day convention in Singapore will be attended by overseas Indians from ASEAN, Asia Pacific and East Asian countries from Friday, Oct 10. The two-day convention is to highlight a major exercise to attract investment and involve the Indian diaspora in the country's development and philanthropic activities. This is the second in a series of smaller scale PBDs being organised by the Indian government outside of India. Last year, the first such 'mini PBD was' held in New York. The main PBD is an annual event in India that has been held for seven years now and PBD-2009 is scheduled to be held in Chennai during January 7-9, 2009.

The PBD-Singapore, the tagline of which is 'Towards a Dynamic Diaspora,' will be held at the hotel Ritz Carlton Millennia and the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the mini PBD on October 10.

Singapore President S R Nathan, a person of Indian origin (PIO) himself, would be the Guest of Honour at the gala dinner being organised the same evening. A separate dialogue session with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is also scheduled.

Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam will also attend the diaspora meet.

Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Ministry sources told UNI that about 600 people of Indian origin from the ASEAN, Asia Pacific and East Asia will attend the conclave, being organised by the OIA Ministry jointly with the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The focus of the Singapore PBD would be business in the context of the growing tade relations with India. The bilateral tade between the two countries has grown by over 30 per cent year on year since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and has now reached 20 billion dollars. There are over 3,000 Indian companies registered in Singapore.

Sources said Singapore was the ideal veneue for the mini PBD because of the success of the Indian community in that South East Asian metropolis.

Indian community constitutes eight per cent of Singapore's total population. They are doing well in various fields.

Besides OIA Minister Vayalar Ravi, Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and Communications Minister A Raja will address different sessions.

National Knowledge Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri, Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Rajat M Nag, Malaysia's Minister for Human Resources Datuk Subramaniam Sathasivam and Gardiner professor of oceanic history and affairs at Harvard University Sugata Bose are expected to speak at different sessions.

There will be 12 sessions, which will discuss topical issues covering the business community's contemporary interests.


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