President Jagdeo to support India for permanent UN seat

Guyana Chronicle
January 13, 2004

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Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, left, looks on as the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, right, lights a traditional oil lamp during the inauguration of the "Pravasi Bharatiya Divas" (Overseas Indian Origin Conference) in New Delhi. (Sunday Express photo)
Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday pledged his country's support for India in its quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

President Jagdeo made the pledge shortly after accepting an award from India Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his significant contribution and service to the Indian Diaspora.

Mr. Jagdeo was among 12 successful members of the "global Indian family" honoured at the start of the second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference, at which he is chief guest.

In accepting the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Samman award at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, President Jagdeo said he was proud of his Indian ancestry and saw no conflict in his determination to forge greater national cohesion in his country. Indian music, cuisine and dance, he noted, were part of the culture of Guyana.

Before an audience of about 1,500 visitors of Indian origin, among them Trinidad and Tobago Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday and newly-installed T&T High Commissioner to India, Pundit Maniedeo Persad, Mr. Jagdeo said it was an emotional event when he discovered his ancestral roots in Uttar Pradesh-also the home state of Panday, who travelled there in 1997. It was there, he said, that he had a vision of how his foreparents had lived and the trials they faced in travelling from their motherland to eke out an existence in an unfamiliar place. He described the period during which Indians were uprooted from their country as one of great human suffering and perseverance.

Prime Minister Vajpayee, who referred to India as the "motherland", described Mr. Jagdeo as "an outstanding example of the new generation of Bharatvanshis (persons of Indian origin)" and pointed out that he was one of the youngest heads of state in the world.

He congratulated the 12 awardees and made special mention of the posthumous award to astronaut Kalpana Chawla, whose husband accepted the honour. Chawla, 41, died when the United States space shuttle, Columbia, exploded on its approach to earth on February 1 last year.

The other ten awardees were Justice Ahmed Moosa Ebrahim of Zimbabwe; Professor Dipak C Jain of the US; Fitz Remedios Santana De Souza, Kenya; Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, Fiji; Dr Miriam Chisti, Kuwait; Lord Meghnad Desai, economist of the UK: Narinder Singh Kapany, US; P Mohammed Ali, Oman; Shastri Tharoor, US; and Sukhi Turner, New Zealand.

Vajpayee also announced that his government had recently enacted the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which provides overseas Indians in 16 countries with the possibility of applying for dual citizenship. (by Editor-in-Chief Omatie Lyder, Sunday Express)