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Will Pakistan’s Gilgit-Balistan be a part of Overseas Indian Day in 2017 ? Read to know more

Centre plans on calling the diaspora from Gilgit-Balistan, the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan for Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in 2017

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  • Indian diaspora abroad is booming more than ever before and their involvement in the countries development is evident
  • The 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas or the Overseas Indian Day will be held in Bengaluru on 9th January 2017
  • Gilgit-Balistan is the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan and the Centre  is currently discussing the proposal to call in diaspora from this area to the biennial event

August 29, 2016: A lot has been said on the good and bad coming out of Modi’s strategies to reach the Indian’s living abroad. However, no one can deny that various efforts have proved to be fruitful and we can see them in the form of Visa on arrival and 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s. Similarly, to propagate a feeling of unity, Indian government has been holding a festival to mark the contribution of Indians living abroad, called the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas or the Overseas Indian Day. It’s celebrated since 2003 and the very first year saw 9,000 Indian’s coming from all around the world to Gujarat to show their support.

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Proposal to invite the diaspora from Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit-Balistan is the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan and hence it’s only common to see some controversy when the Indian government discusses the proposal to call in diaspora from this area to the biennial event, Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. The region was a part of Jammu and Kashmir, but has been under the direct control of Islamabad since November 4th, 1947 after Kashmir’s invasion by Pakistani Army . Gilgit-Baltistan is 6 times the size of Pok and is treated as a separate entity.

Motives behind the proposed action

This news comes in after PMO, addressed Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK on two separate occasions this month- during the Independence day speech and at the all-party meeting. The proposal is in accordance with the government’s diplomatic indication of presenting Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Jammu and Kashmir.

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

Move to join in the diaspora from Gilgit-Baltistan who were previously engaged by Manmohan Singh’s government, can go either ways. The decision may lead to weakening ties with Pakistan or it could be viewed as an approach to hardline the position taken by Modi in New Delhi.

Positive Outlook

After 2006, the government’s engagement with the diaspora has been minimal. Hence, extending an invitation will address their presence and concerns about India’s ignorance. Additionally, this can be viewed as India standing up against the human rights violation in Pok, Gilgit-Baltistan and the infamous Balochistan.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)