An India with greater capacities can be an additional engine of growth for the global economy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday as he invited the Indian diaspora to be part of the country's efforts to emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.

In an address at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Jaishankar said India will also be a “trusted partner and a reliable supplier”, in line with global norms, and that the objective of the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) initiative is to build greater capacities and enhance its contribution to the world.

Describing overseas Indians as “intrinsic partners” in India's growth and modernisation, the External Affairs Minister said they can bring resources, technology, best practices and innovations to support the country's endeavour to enhance its capacities.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated to recognise the contributions of the overseas Indian community towards the growth and development of the country. The date, January 9, was chosen as it was on that day in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi, the “greatest pravasi”, returned to India from South Africa and led the country’s freedom struggle.

Lessons from Covid

“Covid has taught us many lessons, prominent among them the need to be more self-reliant. Its uncertainty has created a global demand for shorter, more trusted and resilient supply chains. We, in India, have responded through the policy of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, building stronger capacities at home to make a larger contribution abroad," Jaishankar said.

The External Affairs Minister extensively spoke about the various measures taken by India to deal with the challenges thrown up by the coronavirus crisis.

"Certainly, it is our ambition to build the capacities and strengths commensurate to one of the leading economies of the world. To do that, we recognise the need to think, plan and act more strategically. What is underway may be a national endeavour, but it is one very much based on global partnerships," he said.

Jaishankar mentioned India's consistent efforts to make it easier to do business in the country for both domestic and global players.

"Our objective may be to increase our own trade, investments and services, but they will surely contribute to a larger global re-balancing. An India with greater capacities can be an additional engine of growth for the global economy. It will also be a trusted partner and a reliable supplier, in line with global norms and practices," he said.

Global nature of Aatmanirbhar Bharat

Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaishankar said India's self-reliance initiative does not advocate a self-centred system and that it reflects a concern for the happiness, cooperation and peace of the whole world.

"I underline this message because it is important that the world be fully aware of the global nature of India's objectives," he said.

Jaishankar said an engagement with the world is fundamental to India's beliefs and traditions.

"After all, during the pandemic, India not only met its own medicine requirements, but supplied to the rest of the world. Similarly, we not only brought our own people back home, but those of neighbours as well. And as we now look at the supply of vaccines, the prime minister has assured that we will live up fully to our international responsibilities," he said.

Jaishankar said the experience of the pandemic has driven home the need for more trusted, resilient and reliable supply chains.

"Involving the diaspora in that endeavour is natural. To start with, they have always been enthusiastic contributors to nation-building," he said.

The external affairs minister said India has responded to the pandemic through the larger framework of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ to enhance its capacities at home to make a larger contribution abroad.

"We, in India, have responded through the policy of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, building stronger capacities at home to make a larger contribution abroad. It is natural that we seek to involve our diaspora in that process, as they have a well-earned reputation as high achievers," he said.

Jaishankar said India has demonstrated an ability to rise to the challenge and that determination is now becoming visible as a larger approach to enhance national capabilities and prospects.

"A bold scheme of production-linked incentives in 13 key sectors offers the potential of transforming manufacturing in the country. Equally important, it would have direct consequences for employment and inclusiveness. These are all steps in the making of a New India and it is only appropriate that our diaspora is a full participant in that effort," he said.