India to launch business assistance network for diaspora
Stabroek News
November 19, 2003

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The Indian government is preparing to launch a network of Indian chambers of commerce to provide assistance to Indian diaspora businesses in various countries around the world.

India's High Commiss-ioner to Guyana, Avinash Gupta, made this disclosure last Wednesday evening while speaking at a reception at his residence to promote the second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an event which commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi to his homeland on January 9, 1915, from South Africa.

"[The Indian government] plan(s) to launch a global network of Indian chambers of commerce servicing Indian diaspora businesses in different countries," Gupta said.

Gupta issued an invitation to members of the Indo-Guyanese community to participate in the occasion which is scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India next year from January 9 to 11.

He said it aims at uniting Indians from across the Caribbean and other territories worldwide with their counterparts in India.

Additionally, during the commemoration, attempts will be made to address such important issues as international trade, amendments to the dual Citizenship Act and the Foreign Contribution Act, and final declarations on the Gulf Insurance Scheme.

According to Gupta, "...a special session on `Diaspora Hubs and International Trade' (will) explore how Indian business communities spread over 110 countries could network with each other and India, to leverage business capabilities and competencies and enhance their share in the global trade."

President Bharrat Jagdeo is expected to attend in the capacity of Chief Guest, courtesy of Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee who will inaugurate the affair.

Other high-profile guests include Sir V.S. Naipaul and cricket legend Rohan Kanhai, Gupta said. Meanwhile, in order to facilitate the attendance of Indian participants from the Caribbean, Universal Airlines has entered a deal with Air India for persons to travel from Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad to New York.

There, the participants will join a connecting flight which will take them to India either directly or with a stop over in London. The trip costs US$950.

Last year, the first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas saw an assembly of more than 3,000 persons of Indian origin from over 72 countries, Gupta added.