Modi in Munich: Diaspora discourse

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Photo Credit Twitter Vijay Chauthaiwale

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, June 12: The Indian foreign currency reserves haven’t declined by even 10 per cent from its peak of about USD 642 billion.

The foreign portfolio investors haver pulled out not less than Rs one lakh crore in the first five months this year while the crude oil prices have gone over the roof beyond the comforts of the Indian government.

Remittances pour in strongly, investments in the new businesses and the start-ups remain healthy while the Indian diaspora consisting of the highly skilled manpower drive the India story in the foreign capitals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will connect with the Indian diaspora in Munich on June 26 while he visits Germany to take part in G7 meeting. The G7 is the grouping of the highly industrialised nations. Modi has been taking part in each of the G7 meeting since 2019 in affirmation of the larger role that the world powers see for India.

Diaspora connect of PM Modi has been a constant during his foreign visits. The Madison Square Garden speech of PM Modi in September 2014 had unveiled his desire to invest in the Indian foreign affairs and turn the focus on the diaspora to take forward the Indian interests.

The strategy has arguably paid well in the US where the Indian diaspora helped Washington to finally grow from hyphenating India with Pakistan and see New Delhi as not only the South Asian pivot but also the country which can tilt the balance in the Indo-Pacific region.

Modi will be in Germany twice within two months. The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had extended the invitation to him to attend the G7 meeting in Munich. In April, Modi has his first meeting with Scholz during his three-nation Europe tour.

Modi spoke to the Indian diaspora in Berlin amid the chant of ‘Modi again in 2024’.

Germany has a strong Indian diaspora with over two lakh people from the country being engaged in highly skilled workplaces. The strength of the Indian diaspora in Germany and the neighbouring Nordic countries is seen to be phenomenal.

Germany and the Nordic countries are widely respected as the technology powerhouses. They’re also way ahead of others in the futuristic technologies.

The common themes of the Indian engagement with Germany, Denmark, and Nordic countries have revolved around sustainable development, climate change, clean energy and access to the futuristic technologies for the larger good of the humanity.

The Indian diaspora while driving such countries’ advancement in the new technologies truly work as bridges for the growth of the India’s relations with them.

Indeed, the Bharatiya Janata Party since the presidentship of former deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani had sense the strength of the Indian diaspora and thus began investing in them by forming a number of affiliate organisations of the party which worked with the overseas Indians.

During the Prime Ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP’s outreach gained speed as the western world sought to slap sanctions on India in the aftermath of the Pokhran nuclear test, which helped the Indian nationalism gain ascendance among the Indian diaspora.

For the BJP, the party’s engagement with the Indian diaspora and intense focus on the foreign affairs with the visits of PM Modi help the party build a strong nationalist fervour, helping the party build a robust narrative in poll times.

With the Indian electoral politics firmly shifting right of the Centre, nationalism has emerged to be the prerequisite for the success in polls.

The BJP’s diaspora connect is now evolving with institutionalised exchange of views of the heads of the missions of the countries in New Delhi. The BJP chief JP Nadda has held a series of consultations with the heads of the missions in the presence of the Union Minister for external affairs S Jaishankar.

While PM Modi drives the Indian diaspora in the BJP’s net with political slogans and speeches being the common features during meetings held in auditoriums and stadiums, the world powers too have noted the significance in the shift. The Indian diaspora is a political force in some of the countries, for their numerical strength as well as resourcefulness. Besides, the Indian diaspora is seen instrumental in building national opinions.

In Tokyo during the Quad Summit, the 20,000 Indian diasporas were out in full strength in line with the set patterns during PM Modi’s foreign visits. At hotel and airport, the overseas Indians jostle to take selfies. With the nationalism fervour running high, the overseas Indians are giving the economy the cushion.

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