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Indian Americans can help India realise its full potential and how to deal with Challenges in a better manner

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A Indian Woman holding Flag (Representational Image), Pixabay

– by Frank Islam

May 4, 2017: In 2010, during his first visit to India, President Barack Obama proclaimed: “I believe that India and America are indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of their times.”

I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment and feel strongly that Indian Americans can play a key role in strengthening that partnership and helping India achieve its full potential.

Because of their accomplishments in the United States and understanding of India, Indian Americans are uniquely positioned to step forward and provide assistance to address pressing issues in their mother country.

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Consider the following remarkable statistics reported by Indiaspora, a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco with a mission of transforming the success of Indian-Americans into meaningful impact worldwide:

* Highest household income of any ethnic group in the US — $100,000 versus a national average of $51,000

* 32% have Bachelors degrees versus 18% for the US overall

* 38% have advanced degrees versus 10% for the US overall

These numbers reveal the potential that Indian-Americans have to help India achieve its full potential. They can make a substantial contribution in any number of areas.

To maximise their involvement, I recommend that Indian Americans align their investments of time, talent and money in the areas discussed as part of the India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

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The Dialogue was established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama during the latter’s visit in 2015 as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Simultaneously, a business roundtable comprising Modi, Obama, senior government officials and prominent CEOs from both countries was convened. I had the privilege to participate in that roundtable as one of the US representatives.

The roundtable provided initial inputs to the Dialogue, the first of which was held in September 2015 and the second in 2016.

The Dialogue develops position statements in a wide range of policy areas. Some of the promising areas are:

* Innovation and Entrepreneurship through the Start-up India initiative to further collaboration between Indian and US start-ups, venture capitalists and other stakeholders.

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* Commerce, Economy and Growth: One focal point is helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to spur growth and create jobs across India. A priority here is to create a platform for sharing best practices and technology with SMEs and helping them access financing to participate in global supply chains.

* Smart Cities Cooperation: India has launched an ambitious smart cities initiative, which aims to develop more than a hundred smart cities. In the most recent dialogue, emphasis was placed on continuing reverse trade missions to look at smart solutions for these respective cities.

* Health: One of the heathcare priorities in this broad category is the control of infectious diseases and the initiation of programmes on vaccines for TB, dengue, and respiratory syncytial virus through public-private partnerships.

* Education: An education priority is “to increase cooperation in all higher education areas, including … vocational training, technical and professional education and philanthropy in higher education.” Because of the difference that education can make, higher education is one of my personal priorities for philanthropic investment.

Indian Americans have the character, capacity and competence to be leaders in addressing the pivotal areas identified and in many other areas as well. In fact, many are already doing so.

I know numerous Indian American groups and individuals who are extending a hand to help India achieve its full potential. I urge more Indian Americans to join them as allies in this most important joint venture between Indian Americans and their counterparts in India. (IANS)

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Asia Cup : India Emerge Champions for third time, Beat Malaysia in Asia Cup Hockey Championship

India emerged victorious for the third time

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(representational Image) India vs Malaysia Hockey Match wikimedia

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India overcame Malaysia 2-1 in the final on Sunday to win the Asia Cup hockey championship for the third time.

Ramandeep Singh (3rd minute) and Lalit Upadhyay (29th) scored for India. Shahril Saabah (50th minute) scored the reducer for Malaysia. (IANS)

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Recent Trends among the Indian Diaspora and its Increasing Significance

As the Indian diaspora is increasingly organizing itself in the host countries by accumulating the resources, it may have potential impact on the economic, social and political landscape in India.

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Indian Diaspora
Indian Diaspora organizing community identity in the host country

 

What is Indian Diaspora:

The Indian diaspora is a generic term representing the people who migrated from the Indian territories to the other parts of the world. It includes the descendants of these groups. Today, over twenty million Indians which include Non Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin are residing outside the Indian territory as Indian diaspora. According to a UN survey report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world. In 2005, Indians formed the world’s third largest diaspora. The Indians who settled overseas in 1960s for more developed countries such as US, UK, Canada, Australia and Western Europe formulate the category of the New Diaspora.

What are the popular host countries for the Indian Diaspora:

The 2010 estimates of Census data of US, UK and Canada suggest that Indian diaspora constitutes three million people in US, 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom and one million in Canada. Indians are the fourth largest immigrant group in the United States. Also, five million emigrants from India reside in the Gulf region at present.

The History of Indian Diaspora:

A brief overview of the history of Indian diaspora suggests that the first group of Indians immigrated to Eastern Europe in the 1st century AD from Rajasthan during the reign of Kanishka. Yet another evidence of migration was witnessed in 500 AD when a group immigrated to Southeast Asia as the Cholas extended their empire to Indonesia and Malaysia thereby spreading the Indian culture in these states. Thus the early evidences of diaspora were found during ancient times. The medieval period witnessed the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism during the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms. Mughals took Indians as traders, scholars, artists, musicians and emissaries to the other parts of the country.

Old Diaspora:

The first wave of the Modern Indian Diaspora, also called the Old Diaspora, began in the early 19th century and continued until the end of the British rule. The Dutch and French colonizers followed the suit. Indians were sent in large numbers to become the bonded labourers for sugar and rubber plantation in their colonies.

Indians in Caribbean, Africa and Asia:

By the end of World War 1, there were 1.5 million Indian labourers in the colonies in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. At present, around 60% of Indian diaspora is constituted of this Old Diaspora.

Impact of Immigration policies on Migration from India:

After the Indian independence, a large number of unskilled and some skilled Punjabi male Sikhs migrated to UK from India due to favorable immigration policies in the United Kingdom. Similarly, 1990s onwards, due to software boom and its rising economy, H-1B was introduced in the US immigration policy that allowed the entry of highly skilled IT specialists, doctors, scientists and engineers in the US. Further, 1970s witnessed oil boom in the Middle East that led to significant growth of Indian diaspora in the Gulf region.

While the low skilled and semi skilled workers are moving to the Gulf region for better economic opportunities, highly skilled labour is moving from India to US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Has Indian Diaspora started impacting the economies and societies:

With the growing rate of international migration since the beginning of millennia, there is a significant impact of diaspora on the economies and societies of the world. In recent years, diaspora is influencing the economic, political and cultural affairs in their homeland. It is so because the influence of the diaspora communities increases as they organize themselves and accumulate resources in their host countries for several years. The mobilized diaspora are now influencing the affairs of the homeland countries. A common form of exchange is the financial remittances provided to the relatives by the diaspora community. Overseas family networks of the political elites in India are shaping the political landscape as well. Culturally, diaspora is influencing the music and literature trends in India as the content is consciously structured to cater to the tastes of the diaspora.

What actions have been taken by the government of India to tap the potential of Indian Diaspora:

The first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was organized in 2003 by the Government of India to expand and reshape the state of India’s economy by the use of the potential human capital which the Indian diaspora reflects. Clearly, Indian diaspora has a larger role to play in the Indian economy over the coming years as the efforts to mobilize them increase in the homeland.

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)