Taking G20 Summit to masses was masterstroke: Joint Secy Srinivasa in Johannesburg

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Johannesburg, Jan 31 (PTI) Taking the G20 Summit hosted in India last year to the masses created not only awareness among the population of the group's significance but also united different government in the state for the common good, Joint Secretary in the Government of India K J Srinivasa said at a meeting here Tuesday.

More than 150 expatriate and local Indian community leaders gathered at the Consulate where Srinivasa was Consul General for India between 2013 and 2016 before being appointed High Commissioner to Guyana and last year to the new position that he holds now.

"G20 is something that all of us as Indians, NRI's and the diaspora should be very proud of. It was one occasion where the whole world was looking at us and we delivered it impeccably," Srinivasa said of the first task he was entrusted with – arranging over 5,000 visas for the delegates to the Summit.

"Taking the whole Summit to the masses was a masterstroke by the leadership of India. Never before in the history of G20 was so many events held outside the capital city with so much success," he said.

Srinivasa said if the G20 was just held in Delhi, people might have shrugged it off as just another event taking place in the capital.

"But taking it to every nook and corner - the North East, Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Hampi and other places - led to people being shown the richness of India, its heritage and culture," he said.

"At the same time, it also brought about a change in approach among state governments, be it opposition-ruled or by the BJP government. Everybody joined hands because they understood that this was something not for their own good, but for the country’s good," Srinivasa said.

Srinivasa explained how there was a "reverse migration" taking place in India today.

"There is a reverse migration and reverse investment happening in India. People have gone abroad, earned, and now want to come back to India because India is now the land of opportunities," he said.

Srinivasa also lauded the expats and local Indian community for having kept alive the culture and traditions of India in South Africa.

"You have made this country your home but at the same time you carry that pride in your hearts," he said.

Srinivasa also commented on the role that India has played in evacuating not only its own nationals, but also citizens of other countries from trouble spots across the globe, giving India an unenviable reputation in this regard.

He said India had achieved this reputation with the support and active involvement of the diaspora.

Both Srinivasa and current Consul General Mahesh Kumar said it was a unique occasion for a former Consul General to return to a city to meet the people he had interacted with in the past.

Kumar said the turnout showed the respect that locals had for Srinivasa through his interactions with them during his tenure. PTI FH CK