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Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce wins diaspora honour

A Canadian organization has received the greatest overseas tribute granted by the Indian government. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) was presented to the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) by Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the President of Republic of India, at Birla House in Jaipur.

"This award is the ultimate recognition that an overseas Indian organization aspires to get. I am gratified that the Government of India has acknowledged the sterling contributions of our Chamber during the last 35 years," said Satish Thakkar, president of the ICCC, on Monday as he accepted the award.

The Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Toronto with several chapters across Canada. It has a mandate to increase trade between Canada and India. Mr. Thakkar is currently leading a delegation to India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in partnership with the Town of Markham. The delegation, considered as one of the largest missions from Canada, includes Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti as well as 60 small and medium business entrepreneurs from diverse sectors.

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The honour was conferred during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention, an annual event held in India in January to engage and connect with Indians living in other countries. It is celebrated on Jan. 9 since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, "the greatest Pravasi", returned to India from South Africa to lead India's struggle for freedom.

PBD conventions have been held every year since 2003.

The PBSA acknowledges contributions by an organization in eight different spheres that lead to a better understanding of India overseas, lends support to India's causes and concerns, and builds closer links between India, the Indian Diaspora and their country of residence, according to a news release.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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