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FICCI and Carnegie India launch a report on ‘Bringing the Diaspora Home: India’s Expatriate Evacuation Operations’

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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India at the 2014 Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in London. Wikimedia
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January 6, 2017: With the increase in diaspora, India faces more challenges to protect to protect the geographically dispersed and diverse population. The Indian government has been strengthening its diplomatic and military capabilities and trying to improve coordination with other countries. Since 1947, India has conducted more than 30 diaspora evacuation missions across Asia and Africa.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) this weekend. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), launched the report by Dr Constantino Xavier ‘Bringing the Diaspora Home: India’s Expatriate Evacuation Operations’, in partnership with Carnegie India. The report outlines the economic importance of the subject. It tries to bring awareness of accomplishments of India in its evacuation operations, mentioned ANI.

The event was attended by former Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Ranjan Mathai. He outlined the importance of different approaches for different contexts associated with each operation. Also, we need to have a good understanding of the destination country.

Retired Vice-Admiral Anup Singh stressed on the significance of maritime diplomacy and international relations in easing the evacuation operations.

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Around 10 million Indian passports are issued every year. There are more than 11 million Indian citizens residing worldwide. Every year, more than 20 million Indians travel internationally.

The Indian diaspora plays an important role in India’s economic development. Overseas Indians have become a priority for India’s Foreign and Security policies. Their remittance accounts for more than 3 percent of its GDP. After the recent crisis in Gulf region, the Indian government has been giving committed and unparalleled attention to the diaspora’s safety.

However, the credit for the success of the India’s evacuation project should be given to the officials who sacrificed their lives and bought back the diaspora. There hasn’t been any formal doctrine or an emergency plan. The Indian government needs to go beyond quick-fix solutions and punctual efforts. We cannot always depend on heroic and ad hoc efforts.

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On the basis of new data and interviews with Indian officials, Dr Xavier, in his paper, has assessed India’s experience in dealing with the evacuation missions. He has recommended some policy changes.

According to ANI report, he said that these measures must be included to institutionalise best practices as emergency plans and standard operating procedures. We need to improve operational coordination between agencies and ministers and train the diplomatic cadre to function in the hostile environment. The Indian government needs to increase cooperation and operational coordination with foreign governments. Armed forces should be given a greater role. There is a need for a balance between civil and military in decision making.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

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Gandhi
Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean