Diaspora and Today 

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“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

-Nelson Mandel

Diasporas have emerged as powerful entities since they are recognized as ‘soft power’ in the realm of foreign policy strategy and also as an agent or catalyst of economic development of countries of origin beside their active role in the host countries. Due to globalization and liberalization of global economic system coupled with the rapid advancement of transport and communication technologies that have reduced time and space that have in turn intensified their socio-economic, political and cultural ties very stronger with their origin countries. Hence, not only have Diasporas attained due importance at the international level, but also in the domestic political and economic affairs of home countries than ever before. Eventually, they have emerged as an ‘inevitable link’ between their home and host lands along with major political and economic implications for both sides.

Indian Diaspora as a major component of global Diasporas is not an exception to concomitant developments that have been described above; it has increasingly become more influential over India’s foreign policy and has evolved as a strategic asset for India in the recent decades. Realizing its due role at various levels, India has been taking concerted efforts to engage and leverage upon its Diaspora, that has been roughly estimated about 25 million dispersed in 136 countries. Considering its size and expansion, it is aptly mentioned in the High Level Committee Report on Indian Diaspora by the Government of India, “The Sun never sets in the Indian Diaspora”. It is recognized that there is a convergence of Diaspora policy and foreign policy of a country due to the embedded role of Diaspora in the foreign affairs. However, the Diaspora policy of India has been sporadic and patchy because of lackadaisical approach and compulsion of deep linkages between Indian Diaspora policy and India’s foreign policy.

Having realized Indian Diaspora as a strategic asset, invited Indian diasporic talents like Sam Pitroda to realize his vision of 21st century India and took administrative measures like the establishment of Indian Overseas Affairs department in 1984. At the same time, there were no constructive steps or consistent and clear-cut policies to deal or tap the overseas Indians until the coming of National Democratic Alliance government led by BJP. India is yet to utilize the potential of Indian Diaspora in its domain of foreign affairs. For instance, India has been demanding for permanent seat in the UN Security Council, but it has not been realized so far. Indian Diaspora can be utilized for achieving the long due aspirations of India. In the recent decades, the international migration of semi-skilled and high skilled Indians has seen an upsurge due to demand of software Industry and H1-B visa phenomena. A tangible and scrupulous Diaspora policy is imperative to leverage upon the growing Indian Diaspora population. With the versatile role of Diaspora, India could fulfil its cherished dream of being a super power and it could make much head way in its international and foreign affairs.

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