It gives me immense pleasure to be amongst you this evening, especially in the presence of such a large number of Indian community members representing a number of community organisations. Your presence in large numbers and visible enthusiasm in organizing this programme is testimony to your love and affection for your Motherland.
2. The Indian American community in the United States has made a mark for itself and is well regarded across the country. With estimated 4 million Indian –American population in the US, its achievements and excellence in diverse fields like medicine, business, engineering, technology, academia, entrepreneurship etc. is duly acknowledged in the country. India regards its diaspora, especially in the US, as one of its greatest assets and looks forward to your help and support in the development of our country in various domains as also to strengthen the Indo-US relationship.
3. Many of you would be regularly visiting India and would have witnessed the vast development and progress made by India especially in the last few years. India has now become the seventh largest economy in the world and is expected to become the sixth largest economy this year. While our economy stands at $ 2.8 trillion presently, we hope to become $ 5 trillion by 2025 and $ 10 trillion by 2030. On Ease of Doing Business, we have moved from 133rd position to 77th in the last three years.
4. Our relationship with the US has also progressed and we are now close strategic partners. In recent years, we have witnessed a significant convergence of views and evolved a close partnership on a whole range of issues affecting both the countries. In this endeavor, your support and contribution is well recognized and I hope that you will continue to contribute whole heartedly in the days ahead as well.
5. The largest democracy in the world and home to the second largest population in the world, India also has the distinction of having the highest percentage of youth. About 65% of our population is under 35 years of age, which amply manifests our potential to make rapid strides in progress and development in the coming years.
6. Presently, general elections are being held in India in 7 phases and the exercise is scheduled to be completed on 23 May with the declaration of results. With 900 million eligible voters, this is the biggest democratic exercise on earth.
7. This year we are celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. A number of programmes are being organized by the Indian Embassy and Consulates across the US with the support of the community and we would seek your wholehearted continued support for the same. We are also organizing the International Day of Yoga on 16 June 2019 at Washington Memorial and I will request all of you to attend the same as also encourage your family and friends to attend in large numbers.
8. I once again thank the National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCAIA) for organizing the programme today. I would like to especially thank Mr. Sunil Singh, Chairman, Mr. Kripa Shankar Singh, President, Mr. D. Gopinath, former President and coordinator and other office-bearers and members of NCAIA for organizing the programme. I also wish to acknowledge all the participating organisations like Global Organisation of Peoples of Indian Origin, National Federation of Indian Association, American Telugu Association, American Hindu Coalition and many other organisations for their contribution and support in organizing the programme.