Kochi, Jan 9 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said India sees its vast diaspora as a valuable contributor to its growth and is keen to expand the bonds further in building an inclusive and knowledge society.
The president said the record remittance of $67 billion from overseas Indians was a testimony to both the emotional attachment and the fulfilment in investing in India's strong economy.
"We should explore ways and means to encourage further participation by the diaspora to give additional impetus to India's growth story," Mukherjee said at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.
"I also wish to see the Indian diaspora as a stronger partner, not only in India's economic growth, but also in building India's knowledge society, while continuing to engage culturally and emotionally, and serving as the effective ambassadors that they have been for this country," the president said.
The event -- India's annual exposition to connect with its 130-million diaspora in 130 countries -- also saw the president confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards on 15 pre-eminent overseas Indians for their contributions.
In his address, the president lauded the contributions of the Indian diaspora in areas ranging from social service and polity to economy, science and culture.
"It is a matter of pride for every Indian that there are at least five heads of state or government, and over 70 senior political leaders such as deputy heads of state, speakers, ministers in various countries, who can trace their roots to India," Mukherjee said.
The chief guest at the event was Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag, who was also among the recipients of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.