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President Kovind hails Indian diaspora in Benin


Press Trust of India Cotonou (Benin)
India counts on its diaspora, as entrepreneurs, as professionals, as change-makers or simply as ambassadors of Indian values and culture to support the country's growth, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Tuesday.
Addressing the Indian community in this West African nation, President Kovind said India has emerged as a key driver of global growth and in the next seven years, the country's target is to become a USD 5 trillion economy.
"Our engagement with the world, therefore, is set to increase manifold. Our partnership with Africa will occupy a central place in this matrix," he said.
The President, who arrived here on Sunday on the first leg of his three-nation tour, is the first Indian head of state to visit the West African nation.
Addressing the Indian community, he said India has decided to open 18 new embassies in Africa, seven of them in West Africa.
In this context, he said consolidation of India's ties with countries like Benin is very important.
India is Benin's largest trading partner and nearly 100 Indian or Indian-owned companies are operating in the country.
"You can help us create new business and investment collaborations between Benin and India and support our growth and development," he said.
The President said much of what the two countries have achieved today, would not have been possible without the contribution of the vibrant Indian community in Benin.
Praising the work being done by the Indian Association in Cotonou, the President said in the absence of an Indian Embassy in Benin, the association has become an important bridge between the community members and the Indian Mission in Abuja, Nigeria.
Be it extending help to any distressed Indian, or facilitating consular services, the Indian Association has always been at the forefront, he said.
The President said the Indian community has even joined hands to run a CBSE-pattern Indian International School in Cotonou.
"It speaks well of you that the school is popular not just among Indians but with Beninese and foreign students as well," he said.
The President said the government has mandated the country's embassies abroad to take prompt and effective action whenever Indians need help.
He said the government has effectively used social media tools to reach out to people in distress.
In the last 5 years, the government has rescued over 90,000 Indians, as well as nationals from 50 other countries, caught in humanitarian crises and similar situations abroad.

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First Published: Jul 30 2019 | 9:06 PM IST

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