The question “Indian diaspora has scaled new heights in the West. Describe its economic and political benefits for India." was asked in the Mains 2023 GS Paper 2. Let us look at the model answer to this question.
Answer: India has the largest diaspora in the world, according to the World Migration Report, 2022. This diaspora serves as an essential communication channel and strategic tool to advance India's foreign policy objectives and strengthen its soft power.
- Remittances: Indians abroad send large amounts of money back home to support families.
- For instance, in 2022 India received over $83 billion in remittances. This helps boost foreign reserves and consumer spending.
- Investments: Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and people of Indian origin (PIOs) invest heavily in India. This foreign direct investment helps fund infrastructure, technology, and other projects.
- For example, Vinod Khosla (Indian-American businessman and venture capitalist) has funded numerous Indian startups.
- Knowledge transfer: Indian professionals returning from abroad bring back valuable skills, expertise and global outlook. This facilitates technology development and modernization of various sectors.
- For example, Sridhar Vembu (Founder of Zoho)
- Philanthropy: Indian immigrants donate generously to causes in India like education, healthcare, poverty alleviation etc. This supplements India's domestic spending on social sectors.
- Trade ties: The Indian diaspora promotes India's exports and helps forge trade links between India and their countries of residence. This boosts India's international trade.
- Lobbying: Indian ethnic organizations lobby local governments in foreign countries to adopt policies favorable to India. This gives India more global influence.
- For example, the US-India Civil Nuclear Deal.
- Improved reputation: Success of NRIs and PIOs helps counter negative stereotypes about India. This elevates India's stature internationally.
- For example, Indra Nooyi and Sundar Pichai
- Strategic ties: Presence of a prosperous Indian diaspora enables stronger strategic partnerships between India and select foreign countries
- For example, Rishi Sunak (UK’s PM)
- Soft power: Cultural events, festivals, yoga promotion by immigrant groups spread awareness of Indian culture abroad. This expands India's soft power globally.
The Indian diaspora presents notable benefits yet concurrently encounters distinct obstacles pertaining to cultural identity, assimilation, and societal integration within Western communities.
Nevertheless, the growing clout of the Indian diaspora boosts India's economic progress, increases its global standing, and expands its strategic options. Leveraging these external assets remains an important focus area for India.