Conference Announcements
International Conference on “India and its Diaspora Engagement: Comparative Global Practices” organized by Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives, (ODI) New Delhi in Collaboration with Dias
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on "New Indian Migrants' and 'Indentured Diaspora': Emerging opportunity for Indian Foreign Policy" 3-4 November, 2016 Venue: Rabindra Bharti Unversity, Kolkata
International Conference on DIASPORA AND INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION IN DEVELOPMENT: COMPARATIVE GLOBAL EXPERIENCES 10-11 January 2016, New Delhi
Interactive Lecture on "India and Indian Diaspora in East Africa: Past Experiences and Future Challenges by Dr. Gijsbert Oonk, Erasmus University, Holland 2 December 2015 at Conf. Hall 2 at IIC
International Conference organized by ODI on Indian Diaspora in Development of Home and Host Countries: A Comparative Perspective at Kadi University, Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat, 10th-11th January, 2015
OD Conference at Columbia University on A Foot in Each World: South Asian Diaspora Communities in the United States and their Interactions with their Homeland October 17, 2014, 2.00–5.00pm Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building (SIPA)
International Conference on "Women in the Indian Diaspora" organised by ODI in collaboration with IIC and CAS-Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on 10-11 January 2014, at India International Centre, New Delhi
Conference on "Diaspora in India's Foreign Policy and National Security:A Comparative Perspective" on 6-7 November 2013 at New Delhi
International Conference on “India and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective” on 29-30 March 2013 at IIC
Books on Diaspora by ODI & its Members
Published in Collaboration with ODI
International conferences of ODI on Diasporas
Organised in India
Conference & Interaction Collaborated by ODI
Collaborations: with Academic Institutions
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on "New Indian Migrants' and 'Indentured Diaspora': Emerging opportunity for Indian Foreign Policy" 3-4 November, 2016 Venue: Rabindra Bharti Unversity, Kolkata
CONCEPT NOTE
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
on
"New Indian Migrants' and 'Indentured Diaspora': Emerging opportunity for Indian Foreign Policy"
 
organised by ODI International  and CSIRD
 
3-4 November, 2016

Venue: Rabindra Bharti Unversity, Kolkata

Migration is an age old phenomenon and takes place both under conditions of duress and as a matter of choice. India has an old history of inland migration. In ancient times, Indians did migrate but mostly for trading purposes and did not create a diaspora as did the Armenians or the Jews. The Indian diaspora formation began during the colonial times to fulfil the colonial requirement of cheap labour after the abolition of slavery in 1833. Indians migrated under the colonial rule as indentured labourers to many countries around the world like Mauritius, Guyana, Fiji, and Trinidad, South Africa and to various countries of Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia. But the post World War II period saw the migration of skilled Indian labourers and professionals from India to various countries of the world. The destination of the post WWII migration was the developed West and was largely voluntary. Thus, there remains a clear class division among the Indian diaspora – the indentured migrants (coolie diaspora) and the voluntary migrants (new diaspora / dollar diaspora).

Though India prior to her independence was sympathetic to the cause of her diaspora, chose to disassociate herself from the diaspora after independence. India found no specific utility of the diaspora. Elsewhere in the world diaspora had come to play an important role in nation- building. The creation of Israel by the Jewish diaspora is the most exalted example. The combination of collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War of the early 1990, created a balance of payment crisis to such an extent that India had to mortgage gold in British bank to manage the crisis. It is noteworthy that the dollar diaspora did not respond enthusiastically to the call to bailout India with their idle cash and the Indian government learnt about the need to engage the diaspora meaningfully. A committee was formed under L.M Singvi to recommend ways of engaging the diaspora.

The Diaspora policy of government of India was influenced by the economic problems faced by the country. The government acknowledged the contribution of Indian Diaspora in solving the foreign exchange crisis. Changing profile of the diaspora, increased in its numbers, adoption of the policy of economic liberalization, globalisation and the end of cold war led to a re-evaluation of the diaspora policy. The NDA government in 1998 initiated several policy measures in its foreign policy to engage with the Indian diaspora. The Indian Diaspora is now considered as an asset. Indian settlers in other parts of the world are considered as ‘brand ambassador of India’ promoting goodwill for India and represented ‘mini India’ Many policy initiatives like celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), PIO card, investment opportunities etc. are introduced for Indian diaspora.

In the age of globalisation, the 25 million strong Indian diaspora has come to be regarded as an important asset. The importance of Indian Diaspora in the Foreign Policy of India is very much visible today through change in its earlier policy of disassociation to active association. The Government of India wants to engage with its diaspora as actively as possible. Indian diaspora is now being considered to be the vectors of India’s both hard and soft power. In spite of such engagement one can see that the asset rich diaspora or the dollar rich Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) seem to be the favoured section of the diaspora. Not much attempt is visible in courting the indenture origin diaspora. One can take the case of over two million stateless Indians of Myanmar or the culturally suppressed and suffering Indians in Malaysia as examples of a skewed diaspora policy of India.

This is not to argue that India does not wish to engage with all sections of her diaspora. It is evident from the Prime Minister Modi’s attempt to connect with the Indian diaspora wherever he travels. Moreover, the Election Manifesto of the party in power talks of harnessing the NRIs and PIOs to articulate Indian national interest globally. If India wishes to harness the strength of her diaspora, it must have a policy that is sensitive to all sections of her diaspora starting from the indentured labourers to the recently migrated NRIs.

The Centre for Studies in International Relations and Development (CSIRD), Kolkata, proposes to organise a two-day international conference in collaboration with Organisation for Diaspora Initiative (ODI), New Delhi, to deliberate on all aspects if India’s diaspora policy. The specific objective of the proposed conference is to help Government of India articulate an inclusive Diaspora policy that caters to the economic, emotional and political needs of the diaspora and thereby uses them as a strategic asset to promote India's foreign policy objectives worldwide.

The conference would focus on the following sub-themes:

  •   Diaspora as a determinant of Indian foreign policy

  •   Changing nature of Indian Diaspora Policy

  •   The influence of Indian Diaspora on the bilateral relations with the

    host countries.

  •   Current Indian Diaspora policy: addressing the heterogeneity of old

    and new Indian diaspora

  •   Indian Diaspora and Indian National Security

  •   Diaspora as a soft-power tool and a strategic resource for emerging

    India

  •   Indian Diaspora policy and its role in development of India

    Participants will be invited from various parts of India and abroad and would include prominent members of the Diasporic Community and scholars specialising on Diaspora Studies and the Indian Diaspora.

    The conference is to be held in Kolkata. Dates: 3-4 November, 2016 .


Date: 07-Oct-2016
Latest Publication
ODI Lecture Publication: Global India Dialogue Series
New Book, Indian Diaspora:Contributions to their New Home
Diaspora Studies journal published by Routledge, London
ODI Periodicals
A Refereed Journal, e-Newsletter, Lecture Papers
ODI IN CONFERENCES OVERSEAS
ODI Member Participation in Overseas Meets
Conferences of ODI in conjunction with PBD
Collaboration: Scholars visiting PBD meets