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Influence of the Indian Diaspora on National Politics Across the Globe

A diaspora is a community of people from the same homeland who have been scattered or have migrated to other lands. While most often associated with the Jewish people expelled from the Kingdom of Israel in the 6th century BCE, Robert Longley has elaborately written about the diaspora of many ethnic groups found around the world today. While talking about the Indian Diaspora on National Politics across the Globe, we can observe that some members of Indian origin have risen to prominent political positions in their host countries, which can result in remarkable attention to India’s concerns in international forums. The Indian diaspora maintains important cultural and social ties with India, which can translate into support for Indian foreign policy objectives and diplomatic efforts. From the following knowledge, we can analyze the overall Influence of the Indian Diaspora on National Politics across the Globe.

Recently, Indian-American tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy launched his 2024 presidential bid. He is the second Indian-American to enter the Republican presidential primary. Earlier, two-term former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Haley also announced her presidential campaign. Along with that several prominent names have emerged from the list of Indian Americans who have made significant contributions in the United States. Kamala Harris, notable for her role as the first female Vice President of the U.S. and as a former United States Senator from California, holds a historic position as the first Indian American in the U.S. Senate and the first African American senator from California. Bobby Jindal, a former Republican Governor of Louisiana and a former U.S. presidential candidate made history as the first Indian American governor in U.S. history. Ajit Pai became the Chairman of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), marking him as the first Indian American to hold that position. Additionally, Dalip Singh Saund holds the distinction of being the first Indian-American congressman, serving as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California. These individuals have played influential roles in American politics and government.

Source: MEA, as on Dec 25, 2021

Several Indian-origin individuals have made significant contributions to British politics. Among them, Dadabhai Naoroji made history as the first Indian MP in the House of Commons, representing the Liberal Party. Baron Bhattacharyya used to sit in the House of Lords, while Mancherjee Bhownagree was a Conservative MP and the second Indian MP in the House of Commons. Priti Patel, a Conservative MP, served as the Home Secretary from July 2019 to 6 September 2022. Rishi Sunak currently holds the position of Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party as of 2023. He is Britain’s youngest Prime Minister in recent times. These figures have left their mark on the political landscape of the United Kingdom.

Many Indian-origin individuals have made significant contributions to Canadian politics as well. Murad Velshi served as a former Ontario Liberal MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament), while Prasad Panda is a UCP (United Conservative Party) MLA representing Alberta province. Judi Tyabji, an Indian-Canadian politician of Bengali descent, made history as the youngest elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from the Progressive Democratic Alliance party. Chandra Arya, a Liberal MP, represents Nepean City, showcasing the diverse and influential presence of Indian-origin politicians in Canada.

Simultaneously, in various parliaments around the world, Indian-origin politicians have made their mark. In Australia, notable figures include Dave Sharma, a Liberal MP for Wentworth, and Lisa Singh, a Labor Senator for Tasmania. Germany had Ashok-Alexander Sridharan as the Mayor of Bonn. Leo Varadkar served as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) from December 2022 in Ireland. In New Zealand, there was Parmjeet Parmar and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi as Members of Parliament. Papua New Guinea has Sasindran Muthuvel as the Governor of West New Britain. The Philippines remembers Ramon Bagatsing, a former Congressman and Mayor of Manila. Seychelles has Wavel Ramkalawan as its President, and in Switzerland, Nik Gugger is known as one of the first Indian-origin members of the Swiss parliament.

The Indian diaspora holds political significance globally as it can influence elections, contribute to policy making, and India is developing a good connection with the diaspora so that they can communicate Indian interests in a better way in the host country. Their presence in political offices, combined with their advocacy efforts serves as a diplomatic asset, enhancing India’s influence on the global stage. In countries where the Indian diaspora has a sizable population, their votes can be politically significant, leading to policies and politicians that align with India’s interests.

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