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Sushma Swaraj Addresses Indian Community in Bulgaria, Pays Floral Tribute at Gandhi Statue

Swaraj said India has always viewed Bulgaria as a 'true friend' and shares the belief that the time tested bilateral partnership will be further strengthened to mutual benefit in the coming years.

PTI

Updated:February 17, 2019, 6:26 PM IST
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Sushma Swaraj Addresses Indian Community in Bulgaria, Pays Floral Tribute at Gandhi Statue
File pic of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. (PTI)

Sofia (Bulgaria): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday hailed India as a land of opportunity and invited the Indians living in Bulgaria to invest in the country and participate in its transformative journey.

Addressing the Indian community here, she also lauded the diaspora for its "commendable role" in boosting bilateral ties.

"Indians and Bulgarians share a close inexplicable bond dating back centuries. Since time immemorial, Indians have believed in living together in harmony. The same universal approach and openness is visible in Bulgaria," said Swaraj, who arrived on a two-day visit to Bulgaria on Saturday.

She is the first-ever Indian external affairs minister to visit the Balkan nation.

"India and Bulgaria are robust democracies and vibrant, multi-religious, multi-ethnic societies. Pluralism, tolerance and social harmony define our national ethos," she said.

Swaraj said India has always viewed Bulgaria as a "true friend" and shares the belief that the time tested bilateral partnership will be further strengthened to mutual benefit in the coming years.

Terming the overseas Indian community is an "integral part" of India's transformation, she urged it to take part in furthering India's development process.

"You have undoubtedly done well here but there are immense opportunities waiting for you in India. India today is a land of opportunity for those who want to connect, innovate, trade and invest. We welcome your participation in India's transformative journey. A resurgent India awaits you," the minister said.

"There is a new vigour in our diaspora policy and outreach. The welfare of our citizens outside India is a top priority of our Government and me personally. We have taken many steps to connect you better with India. We have simplified the OCI scheme," she said.

"We have created a Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi as a one-stop resource centre for you and as your permanent home in India. I have introduced in the Rajya Sabha a bill on NRI marriages to offer more protection against exploitation to Indian women married abroad," she said.

Earlier, Swaraj paid a floral tribute at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue in South Park, Sofia.

"EAM Sushma Swaraj offered floral tribute at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue in South Park, Sofia. The statue was sculpted by Ivan Rusev, a prominent Bulgarian sculptor, and was inaugurated in September 2018 by Rashtrapatiji," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

This magnificent gesture of homage by the people of Bulgaria to the Father of the Indian Nation to mark his 150th birth anniversary is truly noteworthy, Swaraj said in the statement.

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