A delegation from GOPIO, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (www.gopio.net and gopio.com), met with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on September 23rd in New York and discussed several Indian Diaspora issues and avenues of cooperation. The delegation was headed by GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. Other members included GOPIO Intl Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Secretary Dr. Rajeev Mehta, GOPIO Intl. Coordinators-at-Large Lal Motwani and Dr. Asha Samant, GOPIO Chapter Validation Committee Chair Dinesh Mittal, GOPIO-CT President Anita Bhat, GOPIO Gold Life Member and Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media Dr. Sudhir Parikh and TV Asia News Anchor Rohit Vyas. Indian Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty also joined the meeting.
Dr. Abraham spoke on the upcoming PBD. GOPIO will participate in PBD 2019 in Varanasi and it will organize its own convention prior to PBD. conjunction with PBD. Minister Sushma Swaraj will be the Chief Guest at the Valedictory Session of the Convention on January 20th, 2019 in Varanasi.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh said that GOPIO chapters, Indian community groups as well as Indian community media will promote New India in all countries outside India. MEA and Indian mission will provide necessary media tools for the same.
GOPIO Chairman Abraham emphasized the need for the Indian mission to work closely with the GOPIO chapters and other Indian community groups whenever issues come up affecting Indian’s image in various countries.
GOPIO Secretary Dr. Rajeev Mehta and Dr. Asha Samant brought up the legal issues facing NRIs/PIOs and issues of abandoned wives and cheated husbands and how MEA and community can be pro-active. Dr. Mehta said that the number of legal cases are increasing and NRIs/IOs can’t always travel back and forth to fight the cases for a longer period of time. Minister Swaraj acknowledged the issue and said that there is big backlog of cases in all courts. In the case of NRI spousal issue, Minister Swaraj said that the MEA has been working on this issue through its missions and suggested the community could also play a role.
GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi suggested to make the voting for NRIs in India easier to which Minister Swaraj replied that the Election Commission is coming up with proxy voting soon. Gadhavi also brought up another issue to make visa forms easier and in major Indian languages for which Minister Swaraj replied that the passport forms are in different languages, but there is practical difficulty to have visa forms in different languages. She also suggested that GOOIO makes suggestions and work with MEA Secretary in charge of Passport and Visa to make the via form easier.
Dr. Abraham informed Minister Swaraj that GOPIO Academic Council is joining hands with Gujarat University for an academic conference titled “A Recent Perspective on India-Diaspora Bond” on January 15th and 16th. Minister Swaraj suggested GOPIO to reach out Ministry of Human Resources.
GOPIO complimented for coming up with Know India Program (KIP) tailored to students and young professionals of North America, Europe and other developed countries during the Summer suggested to announce it several months before the commencement of the program so as to get enough candidates to sign up. Minister agreed and instructed the Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty to do so.
Dr. Abraham and GOPIO Chapter Review committee Chair Dinesh Mittal, who is also an IT professional, suggested that India must leapfrog into next generation technologies using resources from the NRI community so as to become a leader in the new emerging technologies. Minister said that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been bringing experts on various technologies to the panel discussion on new technologies. She further suggested that GOPIO’s Science and Technology could provide recommendation to new technologies to be considered and experts in the same. The meeting lasted about 40 minutes.
“It was a very fruitful meeting and part of our continuing dialogue with India during the Annual UN General Assembly Meeting,” said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO. “We bring up issues affecting the Indian community worldwide and we did that this time as well,” he added.
GOPIO is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, secular organization. GOPIO’s volunteers are committed to enhancing cooperation and communication between NRIs/PIOs, building bonds, friendships, alliances, and the camaraderie of citizens and colleagues alike. GOPIO volunteers believe that when they help network the global Indian community, they facilitate making tomorrow a better world for the Indian Diaspora.