New Delhi, Mar 30 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded the role of Kutchi Leva Patel community in the development of East Africa, saying Indians living abroad are the country’s “permanent ambassadors”.

Addressing the silver jubilee celebrations of the ‘Shree Kutchi Leva Patel Samaj’ in Nairobi, Kenya via video conferencing, he lauded the contribution of the community in various welfare activities and the development of East Africa. He also recalled the role of members of Indian community in Kenya’s freedom movement, an official statement said.

Addressing the gathering in Gujarati, he said Indians living abroad are “permanent ambassadors” of the country and help strengthen bonds between nations.

The prime minister appreciated the contribution of Kutchi samaj towards all-round development, especially their role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation after the earthquake in Kutch in 2001.

He said,”Kutch which was once considered a deserted place, has been converted into a prime tourist destination .

Modi also highlighted the double engine strength of the Centre and the state government in carrying out the development activities in the region.

“The region has received thousands of crore rupees of investment in last few years,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the engagement of India and African countries has been on the rise.

The India-Africa Summit and a meeting of African Development Bank were held in India and the President, the Vice President, and himself as the PM have visited various African countries on more than 20 occasions, during the tenure of the present government, he said.

During his address, the PM also invited persons in the gathering, especially who have not visited India, on the occasion of Kumbha Mela in January 2019 to experience the cultural and spiritual tradition of India.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.