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PM Narendra Modi’ “Soft Power” Strategy for Indian Diaspora – What Resident Indians didn’t know!

PM Modi at Madison Square

UITV/ DEC 29.  About 30 million people of Indian origin form the global Indian diaspora.

These are the people of Indian origin, who are head of state in their settled country:

  • Two presidents of Singapore, C.V. Deven Nair (1981-85) and S.R. Nathan (1999-2011)
  • Former Governor General of New Zealand Anand Satyanand
  • Former Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry (May 1999-May 2000)
  • Former governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal
  • Current Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley
  • Current Defense Minister of Canada Harjit Sajjan are of Indian origin.

 The first Asian elected in 1956 as U.S Congressman was Dalip Singh Saund from India. Several people of Indian origin have held or are holding elected positions in the legislative bodies of their countries, and some have occupied or are holding ministerial or other high ranking political positions.

People of Indian origin living in various parts of the world are generally well educated, and most of them hold professional positions or are engaged in their businesses. Some professionals have earned coveted recognition

Four of them, have been awarded a Nobel Prize

  1. Har Gobind Khorana
  2. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
  3.  V. S. Naipaul
  4. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

In the U.S., some Indian Americans currently hold positions as CEOs of large multi-national corporations, such as Adobe Systems, PepsiCo, Microsoft and MasterCard, to mention a few. Lakshmi Mittal and the Hinduja brothers adorn the list of richest men in the UK. In the Middle East, most of the Indian immigrants are manual workers, but about a dozen Indians are found in the list of billionaires.

The Indian diaspora abroad has a history going back to hundreds of years. Indians went overseas as traders, plantation workers, laborers, students and professionals. Those who migrated as skilled, educated professionals generally found better opportunities and became part of the mainstream.

Over the years, the overseas Indians kept and maintained close ties with India and its traditions, and preserved their Indianness. Most of them continued to help their families in India. During the last few years, their annual remittances to the homeland have exceeded $70 billion.

PM Modi Meeting the Indian Diaspora people in the US.

Let’s look at History:

In 1947, India became an independent country, and Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India. Whatever compulsions he had, he advised overseas Indians to identify themselves with the local population of the country of their settlement and seek no favor from India.

“The committee will also study how we can facilitate their (the Indian community’s) involvement in social, economic and technological transformation of India,” Vajpayee said.

The high-level committee submitted wide ranging recommendations, and some of them were accepted and implemented right away. In 2003, the first ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas,’ a non-resident Indian convention, was organized from Jan. 7-9, and ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards’ were given to recognize the contributions of overseas Indians to India and to the country of their adoption.

The “Get the work done” Attitude

During the visit of an Indian prime minister, Indian embassies organize formal receptions with a few dozen prominent overseas Indians.

It was more of an opportunity of darshan than dialogue on issues of the community. Prime Minister Modi started a new concept, courting and strengthening the diaspora. He addressed about 20,000 people of Indian origin in Madison Square Garden in New York.

He attracted 70,000 UK-settled Indians at Wembley Stadium in London and 50,000 overseas Indians at the International Cricket Stadium in Dubai. His rock-star like performances have raised the profile of the Indian diaspora.

Narendra Modi has also addressed large gatherings of overseas Indian communities at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, SAP Center in San Jose, Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur and Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. He also visited the United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Sri Lanka. At most of these places, Modi addressed gatherings of the Indian community.

 The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Dec. 11, 2014, proclaiming June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga.’ Although over 30 million people around the globe, besides people in India, practice some form of yoga, and several entrepreneurs are flourishing in this $50 billion industry worldwide, it was Modi’s call which prompted Indian missions, yoga schools and overseas Indians to organize the first-ever ‘International Day of Yoga’ with great enthusiasm.

As a prime minister, Modi has visited many countries and met more global leaders than any other Indian leader in the history of India.

Modi’s vision has resonated with the millions who “left India precisely for these reasons but have still maintained close ties with their motherland and want him to succeed.”

You got to give to the man for his energy, charm and ability.

The 30-million Indian diaspora has resources which can help Modi to fulfill his ambitious goals at home.

Overseas Indians have numerous achievements in their karma bhumi, have developed clout, and form a credible force. Prime Minister Modi recognizes the diaspora as India’s “soft power.” His dialogue with the Indian diaspora during his overseas visits is the best way to recognize Indianness in expatriate Indians who are capable of contributing money, time and technical expertise to programs and projects of their liking.

Modi has a fan following among overseas Indians and can motivate them to help in the resurgence of India.