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India keen to strengthen ties with diaspora: President 

Addis Ababa, Oct 5 (IANS) India is keen to strengthen ties with its people abroad, President Ram Nath Kovind said while urging them to make use of schemes like Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).

“Our government is keen to strengthen its ties with our people abroad,” Kovind said while addressing the Indian community in Ethiopia here on Wednesday. 

“New schemes have been launched and old ones made simpler,” he said. “You must take advantage of the OCI programme. It connects you with the land of your forefathers forever.”

Kovind arrived here from Djibouti on Wednesday on the second and last leg of his African tour. This is his first visit abroad after assuming office in July.

The Indian community in Ethiopia is estimated to be around 5,000-6,000, according to External Affairs Ministry figures. There are around 2,500 Indian academics in 30 Ethiopian universities and institutes of higher learning.

“Our government seeks sustained and pro-active engagement with our overseas community,” Kovind said. 

“The purpose of this engagement is to provide an opportunity to familiarise you with the transformational changes taking place in India. The dialogue with the diaspora is also aimed at providing possibilities and platforms through which you can participate in India’s growth and development and give back to your motherland. I invite you to participate and partner us in this process.”

The President said Ethiopia, like India, was a land of diversity, of multiple languages and varied cuisines; of music, dance and drama. 

“You must take advantage of the local eclectic culture and showcase and share our own cultural diversity,” he stated.

Stating that both India and Ethiopia have large young populations, Kovind advised the Indian community to make special efforts to connect with Ethiopia’s youth. 

He stated that this would help them germinate their ideas to provide solutions for a better world, be it tacking climate change or providing skills to people. 

“If I look at India-Ethiopia bilateral relations of the last few years: we have an economic partnership which is thriving; our contribution in capacity building of institutions in this country is well-recognized; the training and scholarship opportunities that we offer are sought after; our development partnership has grown from strength-to-strength; and our cultural ties have continued to flourish,” Kovind said. 

“I must emphasise that all this has been possible due to the valuable support we have received from the Indian community here.”

New Delhi hosted the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in October 2015 in which all 54 African nations participated.

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