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Sansad TV: Bharat Ek Soch- India @ 75- Indian Diaspora





Indian Diaspora is the second largest Diaspora in the world. It is counted among the most successful expat communities anywhere in the world. Today, the Indian Diaspora occupies high positions in the fields of politics, economy, industry, technology and education. The success stories of our diaspora are countless. Global Indians have seamlessly integrated with the countries of their adoption; they have also maintained very close links with their ethno-cultural roots in India. The top countries with Indian Diaspora population include UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Ireland, Mauritius, US and South Africa.

Indian diaspora:

  • The Indian diaspora around the world now stands at 31.2 million, of which PIOs were 17 million and NRIs were 13 million, spread across 146 countries in the world.
  • The US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Myanmar, the UK, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Canada host an Indian diasporic population of at least one million each.
  • According to Global Migration Report 2020, India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora across the world, and it received the highest remittance of $78.6 billion (this amounts to a whopping 3.4% of India’s GDP) from Indians living abroad.

The opportunities that Indian diaspora brings for India are as follows.

  • They serve as an important ‘bridge’ to access knowledge, expertise, resources and markets for the development of the country of origin with the rest of the world.
  • Indian Diaspora is an important part of India’s “soft diplomacy” or “diaspora diplomacy”. For example, Indian Diaspora played a critical in the fructification of Indo-US Nuclear deal.
  • They have also contributed to the growth and development of the country of their residence. For example, Silicon Valley represents the success of Indians.
  • The Indian Diaspora has played an important role in the field of Science & Technology.
  • Trans-national entrepreneurship: They are a significant source of trade and investment in India.
  • Source of large inflows of remittances, which has been helping balance the current account. It further aids in socio-economic development and poverty reduction. According to the World Bank, Indian Diaspora is the largest earner of remittances in the world currently.
  • Diffusion of experience and exposure: They spread the Indian Culture and traditions abroad benefitting India in general. Example: Yoga, Ayurveda, Indian Cuisine etc.
  • NRI’s also finance educational institutions or businesses, which again adds to the economy’s sectors. Reports suggest that these NRI’s are a major source of Foreign Direct Investment, Market Development (Outsourcing) and technology transfer, that boost the assets of the fiscal system, every day.

Way Forward:

  • To ensure that Diaspora members feel welcomed on their arrival in India, easier procedures for immigration and customs clearances that are marked by courteous service are essential.
  • Ease entry of foreign funds.
  • Address the problems of our overseas blue-collar workers
    • Negotiating a Standard Labour Export Agreements with the host countries
    • Monitoring and supervision of our overseas workers by our Missions
    • compulsory insurance schemes covering the risks faced by our overseas workers
  • Inclusive Diplomacy.
  • PIOs make frequent visits to their home state or to visit their relatives. There should be greater focus on promoting tourism among 2nd generation PIOs.
  • Welfare of Indian Women married to NRIs/PIOs
  • Economic Development
    • Diasporic professionals are working in senior positions in manufacturing industry can be helpful in promoting India as an important destination for out-sourcing.
    • Government should also consider setting up Special Economic Zones, exclusively for projects to be set up by NRIs/PIOs.
    • The Government should consider issuing special infrastructure bonds for attracting NRI/PIO investments on the lines of the Israel Bonds.
  • The challenge before India lies in the way it taps its widespread Diaspora’s financial and intellectual capital.


In recent times, the government has laid a strong foundation by making diplomacy people-centric with government’s constant interaction with the Indian diaspora. The Indian diaspora is the bridge between their nation and India where they can grow simultaneously for betterment of their citizens. The diaspora can provide the requisite strategic impulse, which makes it all the more important to unlock their potential.