International Conference“INDIA-BHUTAN RELATIONS” Bharatiya Vidhya Bhawan, New Delhi 17 January, 2020
Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad-Bharat (ARSP) organised a day long bilateral Conference in New Delhi on 17 January 2020 on India-Bhutan relations in partnership with Bharatiya Vidhya Bhawan. The main idea of this conference was to highlight the relationship between India and Bhutan in all its aspects including political, economical and cultural dimensions with particular focus on examining the manner in which this relationship has evolved during the last few decades with extensive economic and developmental linkages which had created huge mutual benefit for people of both the countries.
India and Bhutan share a unique and time tested bilateral relationship, characterized by utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding. This special relationship has been sustained by a tradition of regular high level visits and dialogues between the two countries. The fact that Bhutan was the first country visited by Prime Minister Modi after taking office is indicative of the importance attached by him towards relationship with Bhutan. Government of India has consistently supported the socioeconomic development of Bhutan. Hydro-power cooperation between the two countries is an example of win-win cooperation. India is Bhutan's largest trading partner and in 2018, total bilateral trade between the two countries crossed Rs. 9000 crores.
Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad (ARSP) which is five decades old NGO, has been traditionally focused on expanding India’s outreach to its Diaspora but in the last few years, ARSP has also begun to pay increasing attention to promoting people-to-people linkages in the neighbouring countries. Over the years, ARSP has established extensive connections in Bhutan through regular goodwill missions, which has been undertaken with the support of the Bhutanese Government.
Besides the formal opening and closing sessions, the conference had three technical sessions to develop separate themes namely i) Political and security relations ii) Economic and commercial relations and iii) Cultural and religious relations. Over 30 scholars and experts from India and Bhutan deliberated on these themes. In addition, several members from Bhutanese Embassy, Bhutanese students in various colleges in NCR and local scholars attended the various sessions of their interest.
The three technical sessions deliberated on the relevant themes with greater depth and full frankness. The conference generated serious interest not only amongst the academicians and scholars but equally among the political/diplomatic community and media. Several important issues like- shared vision to prosperity (B2B), hydro power cooperation, civil society engagement, trade agreements, cultural identities, tourism; Gross National Happiness etc were discussed.
Welcoming the participants, Amb. Virendra Gupta, President ARSP drew attention to historic relations between India and Bhutan. He noted that the governments of both countries were focused on maintaining vibrant economic exchange and the cooperation with hydroelectric sector had created a huge win-win situation for both the countries.
Diaspora Research and Resource Centre (DRRC) , Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad-Bharat (ARSP) organised a two-day International Conference in New Delhi on 17-18 September, 2019 on the topic: “Mahatma Gandhi and Diaspora” in partnership with the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), New Delhi. The conference was organised in commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Besides the formal opening and closing sessions, the conference had four technical sessions to develop various themes. Over 30 scholars and experts from India and Abroad deliberated on these themes.
In Inaugural session Hon’ble Minister of Culture and Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel was the Chief Guest. Eminent Gandhian Prof. Ramjee Singh was the guest of honour. The conference culminated with an equally impressive valedictory in which Dr. Vinay Sahsrabuddhe, President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was the chief guest and Shri Ram Bahadur Rai, President of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) attended as the guest of honour.
Another highlight of the conference was a special session with Smt. Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, Gandhiji’s granddaughter and former Chairperson of Gandhi Smriti. Smt. Tara Gandhi shared her personal experiences with Gandhiji, which added a very special feature to the proceedings and outcomes of the conference.
The technical sessions deliberated on the relevant themes with greater depth and full frankness. The conference generated serious interest not only amongst the academicians and scholars but equally among the political/diplomatic community and media, as such a wide ranging and contemporary theme was seen in full sync with the recognition of Mahatma Gandhi contribution towards the disapora.
INTERNATIONAL ROMA CONFERENCE TO COMMEMORATE THE MILLENNIUM OF MIGRATION OF ROMA – 29-30 NOVEMBER 2018
ARSP in collaboration with the National Museum, New Delhi organized a two day ‘International Roma Conference to commemorate the Millennium of Migration of Roma from India’ on 29 & 30 November, 2018, at the National Museum, New Delhi.
30 Foreign scholars from 20 countries participated. Several experts and scholars from India also took part in this conference. Major focus of the deliberation was on the historical, linguistic and cultural connection of Roma with their homeland, India. In the inaugural session Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, ICCR appreciated the work being done by the ARSP for Roma people. Five academic sessions were held and a book “ Roma : In Search of Identity” edited by Shri Narayan Kumar, published by the ARSP, was released during the valedictory session.
On 1st December 2018, Centre for Roma Studies & Cultural Relations (ARSP) organized a symposium with the Roma delegation at Mahamana Malviya Sabhagar University of Lucknow UP, under the Chairmanship of Amb. Virendra Gupta, President, ARSP.
On 2nd December, 2018 the Roma Delegates paid a visit to their ancestral land Kannauj, where they were accorded an impressive welcome and warmly received with garlands by the people of Kannauj.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE ROLE OF DIASPORA IN NATION BUILDING HELD IN MAURITIUS AND REUNION 5-7TH JULY 2018
An International Conference was organized by ARSP in collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Institute(MGI) and AGFT in Mauritius on 5th-6th July, 2018 on the ‘Role of Diaspora in Nation Building’ with the participation of an international delegation. The conference was inaugurated by Rt. Hon’ble Sir Anerood Jugnauth, G.C.S.K; K.C.M.G; Q.C. …Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence & Minister of Rodrigues. Shri Prithvirajsingh Roopun, Hon’ble Minister for Arts & Culture was the Guest of Honour. Total five sessions were held covering political, economic, socio-cultural aspects including a dedicated session on the ‘Role of Diaspora in Nation Building - the Mauritius Experience’. The Chief Guest at the valedictory session was the Acting President of the Republic of Mauritius H.E. Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory. Shri Anil Kumsingh Gayan, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Mauritius was the Guest of Honour. Minister Gayan hosted a dinner on 5th July in honour of the International delegates.
ARSP for the first time organized a one day workshop in Reunion Island, an overseas territory of France, on 7th July 2018 at the prestigious MOCA venue with enthusiastic participation by the local administration and diaspora. At the inaugural session, the Consul General, Mr Babu Paul, welcomed the holding of this first ever interaction with the diaspora in Reunion Island by the ARSP and hoped that this would go a long way in removing the feeling of neglect in the minds of diaspora. The Mayor of the capital city of St Denis, Mr Gilbert Annette spoke of the strong cultural connect with India ; Mr Jean Hughes Ratenon, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, in his keynote remarks welcomed this first ever visit by ARSP adding that the Indian diaspora has for long kept India in their hearts; Ms Lynda Lee Mow Sim, Vice President of the Regional Council, spoke of the contribution of the Indian diaspora to the vibrant Creole culture of Reunion Island. Some of the prominent delegates/scholars who participated in the conference included Amb. Virendra Gupta, Amb. Manju Seth, Amb.Anup Mudgal, Shri Shyam Parande & Prof. Ajay Dubey; Shri Mahen Utchanah & Ms. Sarita Boodhoo from Mauritius; Mr. Jean Regis Ramasamy, Historian/Journalist, Ms. Sabine Paulic Armoudom, President ARRCC & Dr. Selvam Chanemougame , President of the Tamil Sangam from Reunion Island.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF PIO PARLIAMENTARIANS 2018
Antar-Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad in association with the PIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India organized an International Conference of PIO Parliamentarians on 10th January 2018 at Hotel Ashoka. President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the conference. Appreciating the role of ARSP to organize International Conference of PIO Parliamentarians President said that this event is a milestone. It brings together parliamentarians and public representatives of Indian origin from countries across the globe.
Honorable Union Union Minister of Finance Shri Shiv Pratap Shula was also present on the occasion.
The inaugural session started with the welcome address by Amb. Virendra Gupta. The valedictory address was given by Shri Ram Madhav ,National Secretary General, BJP . Secretary General of ARSP Shri Shyam Parande propose the vote of thanks.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CENTENARY COMMEMORATION OF ABOLITION OF INDENTURESHIP – 2017
ARSP organized an International Conference to commemorate the Centenary of the Abolition of Indenture-ship from 20-22 April at IGNCA which was organized with the support and collaboration of Ministry of External Affairs; Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR); Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) and many other institutions working on diaspora matters in India and abroad.
The conference was inaugurated on 20th April by Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. M.J.Akbar . An Exhibition curated by Dr. Shashi Bala & Shri Narayan Kumar was also put up at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts. A cultural programme was staged on the occasion by Dr.Saroja Vaidyanathan , a cartographer on Namami Gange.
On 21-22 April six sessions were held on the various aspects of Indian Diaspora in which around 15 foreign scholars from Diaspora countries Mauritius, Guyana, Fiji, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada presented their papers 30 Indian Diaspora expert scholars from various prestigious universities and Institutions of India, also presented their papers in this International conference.
INTERNATIONAL ROMA CONFERENCE -2016
One of the most significant activity of ARSP is the International Roma Conference organized by ARSP in association with Indian Council for Cultural Relations from 12 to 14 February 2016 in New Delhi which was inaugurated by Minister for External Affairs, Smt. Sushma Swaraj. The conference was part breaking in drawing attention to a long forgotten immigrants from India dating back to more than a millennium. ARSP is the only organization in the Indian civil society to flag attention to issues, concerns and aspirations of millions of Roma’s whose origin has been recognized as Indian. Reconnecting them to their historical cultural and civilizational roots is a main objective of ARSP. ARSP commemorates World Roma Day every year through a symbolic function and is in contact with Roma leaders.
An exhibition about the Roma migration from India and their cultural heritage and identity was organized at Azad Bhawan Gallery. Cinematic projection of Roma was presented through screening of selected films. Cultural performances of music and dance by 12 Roma artists enthralled the audience and gave a glimpse into Roma culture and tradition.
After the 3 day conference jin Delhi ARSP organized for the delegates “Journey to the Roots” programme at Jaipur. An interaction with the local Banjara and Gaduliya Lohar Community was arranged in Jaipur. A cultural programme of Roma artists was organized on 16th February 2016 at Birla Auditorium in Japur. Chief Minister of Rajasthan Smt.Vasundhara Raje was the Chief Guest of the programme.
Thereafter the Roma delegates visited Agra and Meerut. A programme with theme ”Roma and Indian Connection- A Cultural Event” was presented on 19th February at Rashtrapati Bhawan Auditorium of Ch. Charan Singh University in Meerut. The programme started with screening of a documentary on the history and cultural roots of the Roma people and was followed by cultural performances by Roma artists.
ARSP Secretary General Shri Shyam Parande highlighted the main points discussed during the conference and called for continuous engagement with Roma community.
PIO PARLIAMENTARIANS CONFERENCE - 2003
The Second PIO Parliamentarians Conference was organized by the ARSP on the 10th & 11th January 2003. This conference was inaugurated by the Vice President of India Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat on Friday 10th January 2003 in the Parliament House Annexe. Sir Aneroodh Jugnauth, then Prime Minister of Mauritius was the Chief Guest. 59 Parliamentarians from different countries participated in this programme. Prominent among the foreign Parliamentarians were Shri Mahendra Choudhry, former Prime Minister of Fiji, Dato Seri S.Samy Vellu, Minister from Malaysia, Shri George Shiuraj, Minister from Fiji and Mr. Premnath Ramnah, Speaker from Mauritius. Dr. Mrs. Linda Baoolal, Chairperson of Trinidad & Tobago Senate. Prominent participants from India were Mrs.Sushma Swaraj, the then I & B Minister, Shri Digvijay Singh , State Minister for External Affairs, Mrs. Najma Heptullah, Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha, Shri Ved Prakash Goel, former Minister for Shipping and others.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN -2001
An International Conference of People of Indian Origin was organized by ARSP in association with GOPIO on the occasion of 6th GOPIO Convention in New Delhi on 6th January 2001 at Vigyan Bhawan. Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee inaugurated the conference. Dr. P. Kandasamy, President of the GOPIO International was in the Chair. 276 Foreign delegates from more than 25 countries participated in this conference. Academic session was inaugurated by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, the then Minister for Human Resource Development. Shri K.K.Agrawal, Vice Chancellor Guru Gobind Singh Inderprasth University was in the Chair. The Business session was inaugurated by Shri Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister in the Plenary hall. The Youth session was inaugurated by Ms.Uma Bharati, Minister for Youth & Sports, Government of India.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON “ROLE OF THE PIOS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF COUNTRIES OF THEIR DOMICILE-SOCIAL, CULTURAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL ASPECTS’ - 2000
International Conference focused on the “Role of the PIOs in the development of countries of their domicile-social, cultural, economic and political aspects.” The conference was inaugurated by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister of India on the 12th February 2000 at the Nehru Museum Auditorium. 35 delegates from 27 countries Ministers, Parliamentarians, Professors, Journalists took part. Several businessmen from different walks of life had come to participate in this historic conference and exchange their views and problems confronting them. While inaugurating the conference Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister said, that “I am happy to be present at this conference on the Contribution of Persons of Indian Origin. I heartily congratulate the Antar-Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad and specially Shri Baleshwar Agrawal, Secretary General of ARSP the whole credit goes to him and his associates.” The Prime Minister said Persons of Indian Origin live in almost every country of the world. They have made their mark in an increasing number of professions and occupations. Where ever they are, they have earned a good name for themselves and for their mother country-India with their had work, talent and, of course, their loyalty to the country that they are citizens of . Five sessions were held during this conference . The valedictory address was given by Shri Jaswant Singh, Minister for External Affairs, Government of India. He assured the delegates that recommendations of the conference will be given fullest consideration by the Government. The main objective of the organization was to strengthen the ties of the people of Indian origin with Mother India.
This conference recommended reducing the PIO card fee to enable the PIOs to opt for it. It also suggested that a conference of PIOs be organized every two years with the active support by the Government. Dr. L.M.Singhvi, Chairman of the Steering Committee said that the NRI should be considered as National Reserve of India and Government should pay more attention towards them. The delegates noted with satisfaction that the Indian government has belatedly realized the importance of the PIOs and decided to set-up a separate department in the Ministry of External Affairs for all matters concerning them.
PIO PARLIAMENTARIANS CONFERENCE-1998
The First ever International Conference of PIO Parliamentarians was held on 28-29 November 1998. It was inaugurated by thel then Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 34 Parliamentarians from 8 countries including Speaker of Mauritius and 8 Ministers from different countries attended the conference.
While inaugurating the conference on 28th November 1998, the Prime Minister said that India has not forgotten the offsprings of the Indian Immigrants and we are considering a few new measures to make their visit to India easier. He further said that the Government is considering to provide special cards to the PIOs to felicitate their visit and stay in India. He also invited PIOs to invest in India.
The conference discussed dual citizenship, technological opportunities in the next millennium, Indian economy-opportunities and challenges, cultural heritage of India and its message in the different sessions.
The session dealing with the dual citizenship was presided over by Shri Indra Kumar Gujral, former Prime Minister of India. Dr. L.M.Singhvi, former High Commissioner of India in U.K. in his key note speech analysed the issue. The PIO Parliamentarians participated in every session and expressed their views freely.
There were three working sessions. The first working session was Chaired by Shri Subhash Kashyap,former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha. Other panelists were Prof. Smt. Tara Chadha of Delhi University and ARSP Executive Committee members.
Second session began with Prof. P.V.Inderasan, President Indian National Academy of Engineering the Subject for this session was Technical opportunities in ;the next millennium.
The last session was devoted to Indian Economy-Opportunities & Challenges. Validictory address was given by Shri Ramesh Jewoolal, Speaker of Mauritius Parliament. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, the then Minister for Human Resource Development praised Indian immigrants for spreading the knowledge of Indian philosophy.