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South Africa's Sooklal receives prestigious Indian Award

24 January 2019

South African diplomat Anil Sooklal, Indian-American IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath and Norwegian MP Himanshu Gulati were among 30 NRIs, Indian-origin people and their organisations named for the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award on Wednesday, 23 January.

Photo: President Ram Nath Kovind conferring the award on Prof. Dr. Anil Sooklal at a ceremony in Varanasi, India

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is the highest honour conferred by the President of India as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conventions on a Non Resident Indian (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) or organisation or institution established and run by NRIs or PIOs.

On presenting the awards President Ram Nath Kovind in his address said that India today is a land of billion ideas and billion opportunities.

"I invite each one of you to become a part of India's growth story which is being etched by its billion minds. We want to leverage your technology, know-how and investment to power our Make in India, Digital India, Clean India and Skill India programmes." the President said.

Prof. Dr. Anil Sooklal is a Diplomat and Senior Official at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of SA and served in the South African High Commission in India. He also served as Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxemburg. Dr Sooklal has a D.Phil in Religious Studies and Ph.D in Oriental Studies both from the University of Kwazulu-Natal. In addition to his duties as Deputy Director General, he also serves as South Africa's Sherpa for BRICS, G-20, IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) and National Focal Point for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). Prof. Dr. Sooklal's knowledge and experience in diplomacy and international affairs, especially of Asia, Middle East and India, ensure that he continues to be an influential person in South Africa's bureaucracy.

The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is held on January 9 to mark Mahatma Gandhi's return to India from South Africa in 1915, where he spent twenty years fighting discrimination. This year it was timed to afford the opportunity to the members of the Indian diaspora to attend the Kumbh Mela as well as the Republic Day parade.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend the Republic Day parade in Delhi as chief guest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “At a time when India is marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is our honour to welcome President Ramaphosa as the Chief Guest for the 2019 Republic Day celebrations. Bapu's close link with South Africa is well known,” said Prime Minister Modi in a tweet.

South Africa and India enjoy deep historical relations and President Ramaphosa's visit will further cement the bilateral ties between the two countries.





February/March 2020
















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