3-day Pravasi meet ends

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Singapore, Oct 11 (UNI) The three-day conference of Overseas Indians from ASEAN, Asia Pacific and East Asian countries ended here today, sending a strong message to the Indian diaspora that it would be absolutely safe to invest 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.

At the end, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi expressed confidence that such conferences of Indian diaspora would help them know the country well and the government would extend all help for investment at home.

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,'' was inaugurated by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore President S R Nathan, a person of Indian origin (PIO) himself and Mr Naveenchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius were among those present during the conference.

More than 700 people of Indian origin from ASEAN, Asia Pacific and East Asia attended the conclave, 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 was business in the context of the growing tade relations with India. The bilateral trade between India and Singapore 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 dollar. There are over 3,000 Indian companies registered in Singapore.

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

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

Besides OIA Minister Ravi, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, 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 Bosk spoke at different sessions.

In all, there were nine sessions, during which topical issues covering the business community's contemporary interests were held.

UNI PMD PD HS1604

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