New Delhi, Jan 9: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivered an extensive speech, as she addressed the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. The 13th annual event, to commemorate the contribution of overseas Indian towards their homeland, began on Saturday. Swaraj reiterated the resolve of Narendra Modi government towards the NRIs.

“PM Narendra Modi’s community engagements have taken Diaspora contacts to a new level. It is true that since our Govt came to office, contacts with you have become very deep,” she said. (ALSO READ: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015: Narendra Modi dedicates Salt Mountain memorial to Mahatma Gandhi)

“In this short period of 19 months that we have been in office,we have had big challenges four times. On June 3, crisis erupted in Ukraine where 1000 Indian students had to be evacuated, 5 days later problem in Iraq erupted. Even as events were unfolding in Iraq, Libya happened. There we had to evacuate 3500 people. Then was the challenge of Yemen, where we evacuated 4500 people. In addition, 2500 foreigners were evacuated,” the External Affairs Minister added.

Sushma Swaraj also requested members of Indian diaspora to listen to advisories, issued repeatedly,when any problem erupts in any part of world. “As that is the time when you(members of Indian diaspora) can come back easily, later on it becomes difficult as situation deteriorates. Earlier, India lacked job opportunity, but today India has changed and there are newer opportunities to earn and make a good living.”

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was expected to be celebrated with much grandeur. However, the Pathankot attack, and the subsequent death of Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, compelled the government to conclude it in a limited manner.