Bengaluru: The 14th edition of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, billed as the largest convergence of Indian diaspora, began in the country's IT hub on Saturday with the spotlight on the role of youth in transforming the society and India's potential to play the role of a 'Vishwa Guru' again.
The 'Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas' was inaugurated as part of the PBD 2017 with an aim to connect with the youth, the new generation of Pravasis growing up all over the world.
An initiative to engage with young diaspora that provides forum to discuss issues that concern them was attended by Suriname Vice President Michael Ashwin Adhin, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh.
Speaking at the event, Singh said the common thread that binds the Indian dispora together is the enduring connect with a country whose history dates back to five millennia, whose contemporary reality takes them on an incredible journey and whose future offers them endless possibilities.
Recalling that the 2015 Youth PBD was about 3Cs -- connect, celebrate and contribute, he said it will be 4Ts this year.
"I would like to mention in this Youth PBD 2017, about 4 Ts through which you can transform your lives as well as that of India. These are Talent, Technology, Training andTeamwork," he said.
Stating that a stronger and more influential India was needed for the balance of power in the world, Adhin in his address said India can once again become a 'Vishwa guru'. He said India can become a superpower and had the potential to become a spiritual and cultural hub.
Adhin also urged the youth diaspora to work for mutual benefits while recognising thier strength of enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Goel called on the youth diaspora to give suggestions on channelising their force and help in creating infrastructure for it.
He also assured of all possible assistance from his Ministry for those willing to take up social projects in any part of the country.
About 300-400 overseas Indian youth are participating in the Youth PBD, including nearly 150 PIOs who are visiting India for the Know India programme.
The Youth PBD in 2017 includes plenary sessions on problems faced by Indian students abroad, problems faced by NRI students in India, and startups and innovation which have a social impact in India.
The Youth PBD 2017, with focus on 'Redefining engagement with the Indian Diaspora', is being attended by delegates from 72 countries and registration has crossed 7,200 as of on Friday, officials said.
The event being held on the city outskirts aims to provide a platform to overseas Indians to engage with the Government on issues of concern to the diaspora and to explore opportunities for investment in India and contribution to the country of their origin.
The convention, being held biennially for the first time instead of earlier annual versions, will aim at redefining India's engagement with its 3.12 crore strong diaspora in diverse spheres, including innovation, start-ups, tourism and education.
According to organisers, a total of 6,346 registrations have been confirmed for PBD 2017 and more than 1,500 NRIs and 400 floating NRIs will be a part of the event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote address tomorrow, when the Indian origin Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa will be the Chief Guest at the event.
Launched by the Vajpayee government in 2003 as an annual event to step up India's engagement with its diaspora and the congregation of NRIs and Persons of India origins, the government decided to make PBD a biennial event last year.
January 9 is the main day of PBD as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the "greatest Pravasi", returned to India from South Africa and led India's freedom struggle.