BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Bridge-builders, unofficial ambassadors and connectors, effortlessly straddling two countries and cultures. The 11,000-strong India community in the oil-rich state of Brunei has endeared itself to the classes and masses in the sultanate, and has brought pride to their adopted land and mother country.
“I have read about the high regard in which Indians are held in Brunei. And it was heartening to know that each and every person I met during my short visit to this country praised Indians,” said India’s Vice-President Hamid Ansari, eliciting ringing applause from around 400-odd Indian-origin Brunei nationals listening to him in rapt attention.
Teachers, doctors, professionals and businessmen – the Indian community in this southeast Asian country is a mixed lot that has effortlessly integrated into the fabric of Brunei’s society. Showering rich praise on them, Mr Ansari stressed that the 10,000-strong Indian community in Brunei has helped in building bridges between their country of birth and their country of work. He underscored that people of India have rendered commendable service to Brunei, be it in the field of education, medicine, engineering or other services.
High Commissioner of India to Brunei, Nagma Mohamed Mallick, was all praise, saying that that Indians have not only made this country their home but have also contributed significantly to its progress and prosperity. She said there are three Indian associations in Brunei and Indian doctors and teachers are specially held in very high esteem.
For the 90-year-old Mohinder Singh, it was a special moment. He hardly looks his age and recalls fondly how he cycled to Brunei from Sarawak decades ago to set up a carpet business. Awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2010 for his achievements in the field of community service, he is now a pillar of the Indian community in Brunei.
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