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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

January 15, 2007

Come, engage with the new India, Prime Minister tells overseas Indians

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called upon the overseas Indians to be active participants in the saga of great adventure and enterprise of building a new India. Urging them to take full advantage of existing opportunities in the country, Dr. Singh said, "I would like you to reach out and invest in a new India. Invest not just financially, but intellectually, socially, culturally and, above all, emotionally."

Inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in New Delhi from January 7 to 9, he said, "Your roots are what bring you here. Your branches are what will keep you engaged year after year here in India's developmental saga. Come engage with the new India."

Thanking Americans of Indian origin for the stellar role played by them in the U.S. Congress' adoption of a legislation on civil nuclear cooperation with India, Prime Minister Singh said: "This is an important step forward not just in India-U.S. bilateral relations (it is) also as an essential first step that will enable India to engage in cooperation in the civil nuclear field with other countries that are members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This process will increase the range of options available to secure our country's growing current and future energy needs. This initiative is, therefore, a vital input to the critical process of enlarging our developmental options." The Prime Minister announced that a proposal to establish an Indian Overseas Facilitation Centre, which will be a source of investment advisory services, is presently being developed and examined.

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U.K. Indians contribute to Pravasi Divas discussions

Leading persons of Indian origin (PIOs) from the U.K. made significant contributions during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas function held in New Delhi from January 7 to 9. Notable among them were Lord Karan Bilimoria and Apurv Bagri.

In a session on suggestions for the Indian Diaspora for 11th Plan, which was chaired by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Ahluwalia, Lord Bilimoria said that the insular, protectionist India that was disregarded by everyone 25 years ago was now heading to become a superpower.

He thanked the Indian government for according respect to the non-resident Indian (NRI) community through platforms like the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

"I must make one thing clear to India. We NRIs are proud of our motherland," said Lord Bilimoria, who owns Cobra Beer and is also co-chair of Indo-British Partnership that was formed by the two governments.

He suggested the formation of an international business advisory council with eminent policymakers of India and noteworthy NRIs.

"This council would have the sole purpose of looking into India's future," said Lord Bilimoria. He suggested the names of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Lord Meghnad Desai as two of its eminent members.

A session on 'Challenges of Development in the Global Context' was chaired by Apurv Bagri, Chairman, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Global. The panelists were Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Governor of West Bengal, and management guru Dr. C.K. Prahalad, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan's Business School.

In his opening remarks, Bagri said, "India has made a great move forward in the past decade. We now require insights on how to meet the social challenges."

He pointed out that despite significant and consistent economic growth in recent times, India still exhibits extreme contrasts.

"India's challenge in the coming years would be to meet the challenge of uplifting the lives of its poor millions," Bagri said.

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India-born is acting BBC chief

Dr. Chitra Bharucha, an India-born hematologist, has taken charge as the acting Chairperson of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), becoming the first woman and first Asian to head the organisation. The BBC Trust, of which Bharucha is the acting Chairperson, has now taken over the responsibility of running the organisation from the BBC Board of Governors. The post of the Chairman of BBC fell vacant following the resignation of Michael Grade after he decided to join the rival ITV.

Born in Madurai, Bharucha has lived in Britain since 1972. A hematologist by profession, she has served as deputy director, Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service, and consultant clinical hematologist, Belfast City Hospital.

She shifted from medicine to the media in 1996 when she joined the BBC Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland, a position she stayed on till 2003.

She also served as the Northern Ireland member of the Independent Television Commission from 2001 to 2003.

In 2004, Bharucha was appointed to the Advertising Standards Authority (Broadcast) Council, where she currently chairs the advisory committee on animal feed for the Food Standards Agency.

India tests pilotless aircrafts

India has successfully tested an indigenously developed pilotless target aircraft (PTA) Lakshya at a defence base in Orissa, officials said. It was test-flown from the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore, 215 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar, said ITR Director A. Checker.

Lakshya, a sub-sonic, reusable aerial target system, is remote-controlled from the ground and designed to impart training pilots for weapon engagements.

Defence scientists have tested several PTAs from the same test range in recent months. The test conducted was a routine one, Checker said.

2 Oberoi hotels rated best globally

Two Oberoi hotels have been rated among the best in the world for service by an authoritative travel magazine in the United States.

The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur and The Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur have been conferred a perfect score of 100 for service by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller, among the world's leading travel magazines, which is a source of authentic information for the sophisticated and discerning traveller. The Oberoi Udaivilas has also been accorded a score of 100 for rooms and design.

"This recognition comes soon after these hotels were voted among the 10 best in the world in a readers' survey conducted by the U.S. Travel+Leisure magazine that has a monthly audited circulation of almost one million," a statement issued by Oberoi Hotels said.

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