Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on his first visit to Indonesia, addressed Indian diaspora in Jakarta after delivering a joint press statement with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

In his address, the PM praised the contribution of the Indian diaspora in the development of Indonesia even as they remained attached to their Indian roots.

“I can see the same love for India in the hearts of Indian-origin Indonesians that I see in the hearts of Indian-origin people in other parts of the world,” said the PM at the Jakarta Convention Centre.

“We have a relationship of Sanskrit and Sanskriti, and you are the strong link in this relationship,” said the PM hailing the historic relations between the two countries.

“It is Indonesia’s uniqueness that those who play Ramayana here are Muslim,” said the PM while recalling his past visit to Janaki temple in Nepal and flying Ramayana-themed kites with President Widodo earlier today.

He also underlined India’s achievements in the last four years during which the country became one of the most open economies in the world.

“In FDI Confidence Index, India is now one of the top two emerging markets… Today, a record number of foreign investments are coming to India,” Modi said.

“From around 300 billion dollars, India’s foreign reserves have now crossed 400 billion dollars. In World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index, India’s ranking has improved from 71 to 40. India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking has also seen improvement from 142 to 100,” he added.

The PM also said that his government is committed to making India corruption free, citizen-centric and development friendly.

“We have gone a step ahead of Ease of Doing Business. Our focus is Ease of Living. Our processes are transparent and sensitive,” Modi said adding that India had jumped 19 places in the Logistics Performance Index and 21 places in the Global Innovation Index.

He also announced free of cost visa for Indonesian citizens for travel of up to 30 days in a “new India” to which the centre resounded with the sound of applause.

“Many of you may never have been to India. I invite you all to come to India for the Kumbh in Prayag next year,” Modi told the gathering. Kumbh Mela is one of the largest human congregations on the Earth.

Taking a dig at the UPA government, Modi said that all of the positive changes in India such as the nation becoming the world’s second largest start-up ecosystem has come about while the “laws, bureaucrats, the offices, the tables, the chairs are the same.

“Only the government has changed and the country is changing,” Modi said.

Modi urged the diaspora to become ambassadors of India and also keep mentioning in their conversations that India is the nearest neighbour to Indonesia and vice versa.

In January, the premiers of 10 Asean nations, including Indonesia, attended the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, Modi said, adding it was no coincidence that the Indonesian President at that time was the chief guest in India’s very first Republic Day in 1950.

“Both India and Indonesia are proud of their democratic ethos and their diversity. In 2014 the people of India voted for a Government headed by a person belonging to a poor background. Similarly, the people of Indonesia elected President Widodo whose background is also humble,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Jakarta last night on his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, earlier met President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka palace, one of the presidential palaces in Indonesia. Indonesia is the first leg of his five-day three-nation tour of southeast Asia that will also see him visiting Malaysia and Singapore.