New Delhi, Jan 8 Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam asked the global Indian diaspora to grab the opportunity that India was providing as it rose to become a global power.
The two-term leader of the Indian Ocean island nation was speaking at the inaugural session of the 6th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Tuesday, where he is the chief guest.
Persons of Indian origin in Mauritius account for 60 percent of the population of 1.2 million, mostly descendants of indentured labourers who were shipped there to work in sugar plantations.
Ramgoolam extolled his country's continuing link to India, which had led to several cultural and educational institutions to set up shop in the island nation. The headquarters of the World Hindi Secretariat is hosted by Mauritius.
"While we are totally loyal to our homeland, we also want to retain connection with India," he said, adding that Indians in Mauritius were "uniquely placed" to interpret India to the world, due to their "objective and deeply sympathetic view".
Indo-Mauritians, he said, were one of the "most well-established communities in the Indian diaspora".
He said that Indians all over the world were linked to "Mother India" through the "golden thread" of the umbilical cord. "It gives immense pleasure to see India rise as a world power, as it was of satisfaction to you," he said.
"My plea to the Indian diaspora is to grab the opportunity that India is providing," added Ramgoolam.
He called up on the ministry of overseas Indian affairs to set up an "active desk" to look at contributions from the diaspora.
Earlier in his speech, Ramgoolam pointed out that it was no coincidence that the Indian diaspora who were deeply inspired by the Indian freedom movement, were also at the forefront of the fight again colonialism in their own countries.
He pointed out that his father, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, known as father of modern Mauritius, had been the president of the London branch of the Indian National Congress and welcomed Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu to England. "It is no coincidence that a son of an indentured labourer led the freedom struggle (in Mauritius)," he said.