A resident Gujarati welcomes non-resident Indians today, the PM said.
Presenting a report card on the promises he has made to them, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a hall packed with NRIs today, "I know the problems you faced. That is why visa on arrival facilities are being made available for several nations."
PM Modi laughed and his audience at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar joined him as he made the obvious reference to the US denying him visa for many years after the 2002 riots in Gujarat, when he was the state's chief minister.
His speech underscored how times have changed. "I have met more than 50 world leaders in the short span that I have been given this new responsibility. All the world leaders I met expressed the desire to partner with India... I have realised the world is looking at India," the PM said.
Prime Minister Modi was addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or PBD, where 4000 NRIs from 58 countries have gathered to celebrate their Indian roots. The annual fest has travelled to Gujarat for the first time this year.
"A resident Gujarati welcomes non-resident Indians today," Mr Modi said and invited his audience to invest in the country, promising them that "Times have changed very quickly."
"I welcome all of you and say that there are several opportunities waiting for you in India," he said, but also emphasised that human relationships mattered most. "Everything can't be measured in pounds or dollars. Our relationship with people of Indian origin is beyond that," the PM said
NRIs, he said were great "capital" for India; they represented the country abroad and played an important role in strengthening its image globally. "The Indian community is admired all around the world. It is not due to the money but the values of the Indian community," he said.
"The world is seeing India with immense hope and aspiration... We have so much to offer, what is needed is confidence in ourselves," the PM also said.