Indore: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday urged the Indian diaspora to invest in India, saying that India is becoming easier to do business.

Addressing the Malaysian delegation with Sivakumar Varatharaju Naidu, Minister of Human Resources, Malaysia, EAM said, "It is a country which is becoming easier to do business. The reputation has grown very much in the last few years. There are a lot of innovations, startups, which are upcoming. Those of you who have interest in small and medium scale will find many more partners today in India than perhaps was the case earlier."

India is organizing the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore. The Ministry of External Affairs with the Government of Madhya Pradesh welcomed members of the Indian diaspora in Indore from Jan 8-10, 2023. The theme of the Convention is 'Diaspora: Reliable partners for India's progress in Amrit Kaal.'

Jaishankar also held a bilateral meeting with Naidu earlier where they exchange of MOUs. He also met with Ministers from Mauritius.

"I assured the minister in the brief meeting we had before this. We would like to understand from all of you in the course of this Convention, even afterward - what are the obstacles? What are the challenges? What can we do better? Everybody can always improve and we are very open-minded. We do not take the attitude that -- that is the way it is -- we know best. The change is not only in cleanliness but also in an open mind. We are willing to listen to all of you, understand all of you, and take your suggestions, and views into consideration. I look forward very much to working with you to build a much stronger relationship between India and Malaysia," he said.

Speaking about Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, he said, "We are doing this physically after a bit of a gap because of the Covid. It is all the more momentous for that reason. I think, in the last few years, we have also seen a lot of changes which have brought the Indian diaspora closer to India."

Lauding Indian diaspora help during the COVID-19 pandemic he said, "Even during the Covid period, many of you took a lot of interest, and made a huge effort to support the Covid treatment and handling in India. We appreciate that very warmly. On our part, we also tried to be helpful, especially to the countries where Indian-origin communities, there was a particular focus."

Jaishankar said that the trade between India and Malaysia has crossed USD 20 billion and he hoped that it will grow in the coming years.

"Today the Indian community remains a strong bridge between India and Malaysia. Historically, we always had good, close, cordial relations. We work together in the ASEAN also bilaterally. We have today trade of more than USD 20 billion, we believe that trade can definitely grow in the years to come. I hope that your visit here will also give you a sense of the changes in India and I think, Indore is a very good example of changes in India," said the EAM.

He also lauded Indore ranked number one in the country in the cleanliness campaign and said that not only the city has changed, but the mindset is also open and gave a glimpse of India's stride in the economic field.

"In fact, in our cleanliness campaign, this is a city which ranked number one in the country. Spend a little time going around the city, that itself will give you a sense of the change. It's not just the change in cleanliness, there is a change in overall mindset. Today there is a lot of optimism, we still believe that we will get 7 per cent rate of growth at a time when the global economic condition is quite difficult," he said.

He also hoped to make India a tourist-friendly country and said that such events help in bonding with people of Indian origin.

"We certainly are hoping to make our country tourist-friendly. There is a certain emotion or feeling that we bring in such events. It's not like a business meeting, it is something deeper than that. For us, bonding with people of Indian origin is something which is a very important part of our global outlook, especially under Prime Minister Narendra Modi," said Jaishankar.

Sharing his experience of PM Modi's visit to Malaysia, he said, "Many of you will remember his visit to Malaysia. I had the privilege at that time of accompanying him on that visit. I myself can remember how warmly he was received. We need to build on all these good feelings in our relationship. The strong common interest that we have, the opportunities that will work to the benefit of both of us."