Politicisation of Indian Diaspora


Politicisation of Indian Diaspora

Events pertaining to pro-Khalistan activists in Western countries including Canada, once again bring into focus the diabolical role of some overseas Indian groups working in tandem with various anti-India elements. This is a manageable challenge for the Indian State. One must, however, writes Sanjaya Baru (political commentator and policy analyst; was advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) “distinguish between the threat posed by such anti-India elements and the challenge posed by the growing political activism of overseas Indians, both in host and home countries. The latter draws attention to the complex nature of the political relationship between India and its worldwide diaspora.

“By mobilising overseas Indians every time Prime Minister Modi travels abroad, encouraging them to cheer ‘Modi! Modi! Modi!’, and drawing them into domestic political campaigning in India, the BJP has helped politicise the diaspora. So, if in London, New York, Houston and across the world pro-Modi groups are shown on Indian television, those politically opposed to his leadership also seek media visibility. The PM’s highly personalised style of diplomacy and its use in domestic politics has blurred the distinction between the diaspora’s loyalty to the motherland and support for an individual politician.

“The ruling dispensation in New Delhi would know that it, in fact, took the first step in the political mobilisation of the diaspora. If the BJP ensured publicity at home for pro-Modi groups overseas, others have sought publicity for not just anti-Modi groups but also anti-India elements. Sections of the Indian media have played along with the BJP and interpret every criticism of the PM as criticism of the country. This trend has created great concern in countries that host the Indian diaspora. Many of them have begun to keep a close watch on political activists among overseas Indians for fear that Indian political rivalries could spill into their own domestic politics or derail diplomatic relations."

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