Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told NRIs- You've shown Indians are second to none


BANGKOK, JULY 30, 2004

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday lauded the Indian disapora's contribution to the Thai economy, saying their spirit of enterprise and adventurism had earned them pride of place in their country of adoption.

Addressing a reception hosted in his honour by Indian Ambassador L.K. Ponappa and attended by some 200 members of the diaspora, the prime minister said their success should inspire others, including people in India.

"You have shown that Indian people are second to none in taking advantage of the opportunities."

Thailand is home to an estimated 15,000 people of Indian origin.

Recalling that it was in Thailand that Subhash Chandra Bose first coined the slogan "Jai Hind" in November 1943, Manmohan Singh said it had become a source of inspiration for the country for years.

It was here that he said you are an Indian first and a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian afterwards," he said, noting that India's relations with Thailand went back thousands of centuries.

Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Thursday for the first BIMST-EC Summit, said his visit was intended to give political direction to using the forum as a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia, where India will be a major facilitator.

"Our government will create new opportunities to strengthen social and economic relations with out neighbouring countries," he said, adding that India was seeking the help of its vast Indian diaspora for this.

He said he intended to use every opportunity during his maiden overseas visit to meet the leadership of India's neighbours and understand the new sense of dynamism in international cooperation in the region