The two-day grand celebration of the ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference in Singapore saw an intermingling of culture and cuisine of India and Southeast Asia, whose ties go back centuries. Addressing a gathering of around 3000 delegates at the Regional PBD entitled, ‘Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN-India Partnership,” India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj cheered the role of the Indian diaspora in Singapore in bringing the two regions closer to each other.
“I see the symbols of our ties: on the streets, in life at homes…in the rituals of diverse states, in the symbols and sounds of languages, in the poetry of the dances, in the melody of the music and in the flavours of the food,” she said.
ASEAN countries are home to around 6 million overseas Indians, a fifth the 31 million-strong Indian diaspora, comprising both Indian citizens abroad and Persons of Indian origin.
With India’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN now upgraded to a strategic partnership, the diaspora becomes a crucial link.