Indian president Ram Nath Kovind addressed the Indian diaspora in Amsterdam, where he was accorded a royal welcome.
In the concluding leg of his two-nation visit, President Kovind, who was in Amsterdam, spoke about “the safety, security, welfare and well-being of all Indian citizens abroad” being a priority for the nation. He lauded the many achievements of the diaspora for playing a role in “changing the geo-politics of the region”.
“The Indian community abroad is our strength and pride,” Kovind said addressing a predominantly Indian-orign audience at the Indian Community Reception. “When I read about your achievements, when you occupy a big office or file a nomination, taking small steps towards formulating the policies of your respective countries, you are playing a role in changing the geo-politics of the region. Please remember that the land of your ancestors is very proud of you,” he added.
Talking about India’s care and concern for every Indian out there, he said, “In every corner of the world, over the last two years, the government has made special efforts to enable our citizens to return home during the worst phase of the COVID-19 pandemic by undertaking ‘Vande Bharat’ mission. Recently, Operation Ganga brought back more than 23,000 Indian citizens, largely students, who were stranded in the conflict zone in Ukraine,” said Kovind.
He mentioned that the “the Indian community is the most important pillar of growing India-Netherlands bilateral relations and serves as a bridge between not just India and the Netherlands, but between India and Europe.”
Referring to the large number of Indian students in the Netherlands, Kovind said he is pleased to note that the community is continuously expanding. “India is deeply committed to strengthen its bond with the diaspora and to attend to your needs. In the past few years, our engagement with and outreach to the Indian diaspora has grown manifold,” he said. He also referred to the government’s 4Cs initiative: Care, Connect, Celebrate and Contribute.
Specific to Indians in the Netherlands, Kovind said that just like how tulips are not native to the Netherlands but have now become a distinct aspect of the country, the Indian community here has become “great representatives of this wonderful country”.
This is India’s first presidential visit to the Netherlands since that of ex-president R Venkataraman in 1988. It’s been after 34 years since that visit.