India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the Jain Temple in the Belgian port city of Antwerp on Saturday where he addressed the Indian community.
The event, organised by the members of Indian Association in Belgium and the Jain Culture Centre, was also attended by Antwerp Governor Cathy Berx.
The function began with a Kathakali performance by Margi Kathakali Group from Trivandrum which presented “Geetopadesham”, a performance based on the Bhagavad Gita.
Naidu began his address by mentioning the contributions and sacrifices made by Indian soldiers who fought alongside their Belgian counterparts during the First World War.
He praised the Indian community and their contributions to the continued success of Belgium as the hub of global diamond trade and towards the prosperity of the Belgian economy. The Indian Diaspora in Antwerp mostly came from Palanpur in Gujarat and contributes 80 per cent of the Belgium’s global diamond trade.
In his speech to the Indian community, the Indian Vice President also talked about the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, saying the two-day meet was aimed at strengthening Asia-Europe cooperation to promote world peace and stability.
He also briefed the community on the transformational changes in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He referred to India’s inherent advantages, including its expanding workforce and consumer market, rapid urbanisation, growing education and skill capabilities, stronger technology adaptation, and potential for driving exports through greater local manufacturing, among others.
He spoke at length on India’s flagship programmes in the areas of manufacturing, digitisation, skills, financial inclusion, urbanisation, startups, infrastructure, clean energy and transportation, which have unleashed a new momentum that is driving organic growth in the country.
Naidu also mentioned about India’s fight against climate change, terrorism and efforts taken against economic offenders and to tackle corruption and black money.
After the community event, the Vice President visited the Office of the Governor of Belgium to pay floral homage to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi.