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Rediscovering Indians abroad: Foreign policies, Modi’s charm and Building dreams

A take on the good and the bad coming out of Modi's attempt to reach the Indian's living abroad

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(Representational Pic). Wikimedia
  • Indian diaspora abroad is booming than ever before and their involvement in the countries development has been more evident than before
  • The government needs to be prepared to make jobs in the market, offering the same kind of roles and benefits in case of implementing plans for rehabilitation
  • Lifelong Indian visas and 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s are some of the changes that have been brought about

August 26, 2016: Indians living abroad have been often looked at with an eye of suspicion whenever they criticised policies, its judicial system or even its paani-puri.

Who is he to analyse? What right does he have to talk about the Indian economy or Indians? Is he not the one who ran away from this very system to tend to opportunities abroad? – Many of us have thrown these questions at NRIs.

Nonetheless, it’s high time the ‘he betrayed his motherland’ attitude is dropped because the Indian diaspora is more booming than ever and their involvement in the countries development has been more evident in the recent years.

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The Modi – ripple effect

Visa on arrival, 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s and Nuclear deals, he’s either done or tried them all. PM Modi’s increasing support for the Indian’s abroad is encouraging them to contribute in terms of technical expertise or monetarily. Modi first started with a flashy speech in New York’s Madison Square Garden then moved on to delivering a remarkable speech at the British Parliament in the UK, before we knew it he was swinging it at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. It’s these efforts that showed its colours in the form of contribution to tourism or labour. In 2003, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Overseas Indian Day) in Gujarat, 9,000 Indian’s from all around the world came in to show their support. His signature campaigns such as the National Mission for Clean Ganga has seen involvement by many American-Indian’s on social media and in the form of Investment.

PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons
PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons

Today, the Indian diaspora abroad has pitched in a lot not only due to the Modi’s charisma or his attempts to keep foreign policy as the centerpiece of all discussions but also due to emotional vulnerability of the ‘apna desh’ feeling, a harmless way of pressing the restart button to reconnect with what felt lost.

Fears and concerns

Nobody claimed, that shifting the focus from the ‘American dream’ back to India will be easy. For starters, India does not have a comprehensive and precise data about the number of Indians that reside in different parts of the world. Hence, future plans for their welfare are blocked right at the very beginning. The government needs to be prepared to make jobs in the market, offering the same kind of roles and benefits in case of implementing plans for rehabilitation or for curbing the number of Indians going abroad.

Secondly, not all Indian’s are Modi supporters and there are times where he is greeted with protestors instead of selfie craving fans. This aversion to the ruling government can be detrimental to the foreign policies that were laid down.

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A man that leaves his land for better opportunities is always filled with this urge to give back all that he took. Currently, India is rediscovering these Indians abroad with a feeling of munificence.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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The Rafale Deal: Corporate Rivalry Impacting National Interest

A deeper look found a correlation between the end of Shourie's dreams of being appointed Union Finance Minister and the beginning of his tirade against the Prime Minister on one issue or the other.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on 'India's strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal'.Pixabay

A recent European Union intelligence sharing exercise with India has revealed that Lockheed Martin, the US-headquartered company which manufactures the F-16 fighter jets, has been up to mischief mongering on the Rafale issue.

The Rafale jets, which India wants, is manufactured by the French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, a rival of Lockheed Martin.

That Lockheed Martin could be working in the shadows to sour the Rafale deal for India so that it could move in with its own deal was validated when Vivek Lall, Lockheed Martin’s high-profile head of strategy and India operations, said that the company was in the process of finalising the sale of 200 fighters to India.

During the UPA regime, the government had signed an MoU for 126 Rafale fighter jets to replenish a major shortcoming in air defence preparedness because the Indian Air Force did not have quality fighter jets. When the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, this deal was revised and an inter-government deal was struck to receive 36 fully-loaded Rafale jets. The controversy now raging in India is related to the pricing for the fighters negotiated by the NDA.

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on ‘India’s strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal’. Pixabay

In December when the Rafale case came before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed that processes were generally followed over the procurement. He also noted that the controversy had been triggered by comments by former French President Francois Hollande over the selection of the offset partner and that mere comments could not form the basis for a probe.

However, this has not prevented the Rafale purchase controversy from becoming a high-octane political battle between the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Repeatedly over the past few months and more stridently now in the lead-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has led a no-holds barred attack on the government and the Prime Minister specifically on the issue. From the earlier public disinterest on the controversy, it is now now getting some traction — the Congress party believes this could be possible because it has relentlessly raised the matter at all public forums.

Bringing up the case of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was said to be part of the orhestrated plan to present the case of the American companies while also appearing nationalistic. In the government’s estimate, HAL’s record is abysmal and it cannot be given a big responsibility like building fighter jets — more so in the light of the safety record of MiG fighters purchased from Russia and made under licence from HAL.

The BJP-led government at the Centre believes — and it is certain it has evidence of this — that the Congress party is doing this as it has become a party to corporate rivalry between the US and French aerospace companies. For the record, Lockheed Martin is believed to have found a sympathetic ally in another US aerospace major, Boeing, which manufactures the F-18. Dassault has another rival in French manufacturer Airbus Industrie, which is associated with BAE for the manufacture of the Eurofighter. It is also angling for a fighter jet contract with India.

Rahul Gandhi’s attacks on the government over the Rafale issue started after his visit to the US in August 2017 when he met several defence lobbyists, CEOs of US defence companies and Pentagon officials.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been obtuse in accusing the Congress of becoming a pawn in corporate rivalry. She made the comments during a recent seminar on ‘India’s strategic interest in the context of the Rafale deal’.

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Contrary to popular perception, the Trump administration is said to be extremely unhappy with India because the NDA government under Modi has been successful in building strong relationships with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Pixabay

The government’s efforts to trace the footprints of the dramatis personae at the forefront of the campaign to target the government over the Rafale deal has produced surprising results. It has found what it believes are eye-opening linkages between Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie — who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court accusing the Prime Minister of corruption in the deal — and arms dealers and defence manufacturers. At least in one case, the linkages show deep connections between members of Shourie’s family with aerospace companies, arms dealers and defence lobbies.

A deeper look found a correlation between the end of Shourie’s dreams of being appointed Union Finance Minister and the beginning of his tirade against the Prime Minister on one issue or the other.

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The government is also aware of the links between a top BJP leader’s son-in-law and a French manufacturer. The son-in-law is said to be advising Rahul Gandhi and is believed to be making government documents available to him for the campaign against Rafale.

Lockheed Martin’s alleged actions to work the political ecosystem to pull down the Rafale procurement deal also has a larger strategic context. Contrary to popular perception, the Trump administration is said to be extremely unhappy with India because the NDA government under Modi has been successful in building strong relationships with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.  (IANS)