|Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, shares a light moment with Commissioner of India, Kanwal Jit Singh Sodhi, during the farewell courtesy call. (A. Miller/BGIS)??|
Barbados has been encouraged to actively pursue relations with its diaspora.??
Commissioner of India, Kanwal Jit Singh Sodhi, made the call during a recent farewell courtesy call paid on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean at her Culloden Road office.
Noting that the Indian diaspora was one of India’s greatest assets, he explained that his homeland maintained a high level of connectivity with its citizens who resided abroad.
The India envoy disclosed that his country held a diaspora conference, annually.?? He noted that efforts were made to engage the young generation, as it was critical that children of citizens living overseas "connect with the home environment".
He also suggested that the Barbadian diaspora should imitate their Indian counterparts who, he said, worked aggressively, to source raw materials and services from the motherland.?? He also pointed out that private companies within the diaspora could host events aimed at creating linkages between citizens living outside the homeland.??
According to him, India had reaped much benefits from the Miss Diaspora Indian, – a travelling pageant which gives Indian women who reside outside of their homeland, the chance to share cultural relations with other Indian nationals living around the world.
In turn, Minister McClean mentioned this country’s eagerness to engage with the Barbadian diaspora.?? Noting "we could learn a lot from India", she told High Commissioner Sodhi: "Your country is one of the more successful countries when it comes to mobilising the diaspora. So, we have been looking at India, – why reinvent the wheel when we could learn from you."
Pointing out that Barbados had a lot of potential despite its 166 square miles, she disclosed that this country was working diligently to engage its first, second and third generation Barbadians.
"The upcoming Barbados Network Consultation, [which is commonly referred to as the 2nd Diaspora Conference] will gave citizens at home and abroad the opportunity to invest in Barbados; establish business relations; and maintain cultural ties to their homeland or their parents’ country of birth," she said. Senator McClean noted that the event was slated for August 7 to 10.
Moreover, the Foreign Affairs Minister said that this country would gain social remittances by engaging its diaspora.