Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meet to have a special class of PIOs: Parliamentarians of Indian Origin
NEW DELHI: Reaching out to the international community, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has planned a global conference of Parliamentarians of Indian Origin of different countries. The meet would be a first of its kind. In an interaction with members of the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents on Friday, Secretary of Overseas Indian Affairs Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay informed that the day-long conference would be held on 9th January in New Delhi, where about 125 MPs of Indian origin of foreign countries would be present. Incidentally, 9th January coincides with Annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD).
After coming to power, the Modi Government had decided to hold the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas bi-annually, which earlier used to be held every year during the UPA regime. The overseas indian affairs department under the MEA has already identified about 285 law makers of different countries who are of persons of Indian origin. "But so far we have confirmation from 125 MPs on attending the conference," said Mulay.
As the format of the conference is still being planned, Mulay could not confirm the presence of either the President, Vice-President or Prime Minister. Generally the PBD is inaugurated by the President and the valedictory session is addressed by the Prime Minister. This time, as it is MPs who are being invited, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, too, may be present as a guest at the prestigious conference.
Mulay on Friday confirmed that four Democratic members of the US Congress and one senator are coming to attend the conference. Indian Americans now have their largest ever presence in the US Congress and the community has its first Senator in Kamala Harris, who won from California.
Ami Bera has won his California seat narrowly while Raja Krishnamurthi from Chicago, Pramila Jayapal from Washington and Ro Khanna from California are the fresh Indian Americans faces in the US legislature. As a child, Harris used to visit Chennai, where her grandparents lived in the 1950s. Her mother Shyamala grew up in Chennai and came to the US for higher studies where she met Harris's father.