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 Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar in U.K. on May 5, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@VPIndia

 Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar in U.K. on May 5, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@VPIndia

India is proud of its 32-million-strong worldwide diaspora and it must continue to counter baseless narratives about the country as its ambassadors, said Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar in his address at a community reception here on Friday.

Mr. Dhankhar, who is in the U.K. on a two-day visit to attend the Coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in its capital, focussed his address on the great growth strides being made by India and its success story as a “democracy functioning at an unmatched level”.

He spoke of the country’s “Amrit Kaal” achievements under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking 75 years of India’s independence and highlighted the government’s target to become the third-largest economy by the turn of the decade.

“The moment of glory for India has come and that moment is being reflected by the ground reality. The world is recognising it,” said Mr. Dhankhar.

“Every one of you has to be a 24×7 ambassador of Bharat. India is now the hub of manufacturing activity for the globe. I would therefore appeal to all of you to contribute to the growth of the nation, for the rise in its reputation and ensure that untenable, ill-premised, unfounded, baseless narratives do not take strides in the public domain,” he urged the gathering.

“No one is against honest assessment or criticism, that will always help us attain our goals. But malicious, pernicious orchestration is antithetical to good conscience. We must antidote it,” he added.

Mr. Dhankhar went on to speak at length about India’s achievements across various sectors, including digital transformation, healthcare and vaccines, space technology and infrastructure growth.

The Vice-President was accompanied by his wife Dr Sudesh Dhankhar at the interaction with community members, representing a range of Indian diaspora organisations at the reception organised by the Indian High Commission in London.

Ahead of the meeting, he said to have a “remarkable and enlightened interaction” with Indian-origin members of the House of Lords, including Lord Meghnad Desai, Lord Swraj Paul and Lord Rami Ranger, among others present at the gathering.

It came at the end of a packed day of royal engagements for the Vice-President, who had his first audience with King Charles III at a Commonwealth Heads of Government reception hosted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland, followed by a reception hosted by the monarch for world leaders and visiting dignitaries at Buckingham Palace.

On Saturday, Mr and Ms Dhankhar will represent India at the Coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey and fly back to India soon after the ceremony at the conclusion of the short visit.


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