President Pratibha Patil began her first State visit to the UK by meeting prominent Indian origin people, including Nobel Chemistry Prize winner V Ramakrishnan, and asked them to join in the country's economic growth.
At a dinner reception hosted by Indian High Commissioner Nalin Surie on Monday night, Patil appealed to the community members to join in the economic growth that India has seen in the recent years.
"I am confident that Indians living overseas will join in the endeavour to contribute to India's growth. As members of the Indian diaspora, you know better than others the challenges and opportunities that a resurgent India represents," Patil, who is the first Indian Head of State to visit the UK in the last 20 years, said.
Prominent personalities of Indian diaspora including 'Curry King' Ghulam Noon, businessmen S P Hinduja, Nath Puri, Jogindar Sangar, owner of Bentley Hotel, and Lord Swaraj Paul attended the reception.
Patil congratulated Ramakrishnan, who shared this year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry with two others, and said: “Significant contributions have been made over a period of time, by Indian-origin teachers and scientists to the development of educational institutions in the UK. Most recently, we were delighted at the news of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry being conferred on Dr Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, an Indian-origin scientist currently working at the University of Cambridge."
Patil said India has maintained six per cent growth rate even during the times of global financial crisis which makes it one of the major economies of the world.
"Today, we are one of the major economies of the world and our weightage is only likely to grow further. Our conduct as the world's largest democracy has also been impeccable. We have demonstrated an uninterrupted adherence to respecting the mandates of elections. We are a stable country with an attractive market," she said.
The President said the young population of Indian diaspora are not only contributing to traditional areas of economy, healthcare and education, but also in culture, media and politics. "In the years to come, this generation will be a vital bridge between our two countries," she said.
President Patil said: "We are proud that... there are over two dozen members of Indian origin in the Houses of Lords and Commons, representing all the three major British political parties," she said.
She praised the first wave of immigrants from India who formed the backbone of Industrial workforce and played "a stellar role in rebuilding Britain's war-ravaged economy."
"You have worked hard and, today, there are many among you who are leaders in the world of business and finance. We recognise your achievements," she said.
The President also applauded the contribution made by doctors and teachers from India to the public services in the UK, especially the National Health Service.
"When we hear the Prime Minister of Great Britain Gordon Brown mention the excellent treatment he personally received from by an Indian-origin doctor in the NHS, we feel proud of all of you," she said.
"Today, the Indian Diaspora is estimated at about 25 million. We seek to engage and interact directly and substantively with them," the President said. PTI