India: Security of diaspora main concern


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 11 Jan 2003

BY WANI MUTHIAH

NEW DELHI: Concern and consideration for national security was one of the primary reasons why India had offered dual citizenship to the Indian diaspora in selected countries only. 

Deputy Prime Minister L. K Advani said the Indian government wanted to ensure that the granting of dual citizenship would not threaten the republic’s security.  

“It was different before with the External Affairs Minister taking care of the external security and the Home Minister taking care of internal security. But now, both have become linked,” said Advani, adding that India had to be cautious.  

Advani, who spoke at a special interactive session with members of the Diaspora, said the Indian government had to also ensure that the countries involved had laws granting dual citizenship as well.  

Members of the Diaspora who were citizens of Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States as well as several other advanced economies can now opt to hold dual Indian citizenship as well. 

Advani also urged members of the 20 million-strong Diaspora to continue to excel in all their endeavours because “the more you (members of the Diaspora) accomplished, the greater is your service to India.” 

His vision for India’s future, added Advani, was for India to emerge as a world power to be reckoned with.  

“The 20th century was the century of the West – especially of Britain and America. Experts predict that the 21st century will be a century of the East. It should be our endeavour to make it an Indian Century,” said Advani. 

At the plenary session, China was a hot topic of discussion and debate in the sessionthemed Global Business Matrix and the Indian Diaspora, which saw many eminent global Indian business personalities examining the role played by the Chinese Diaspora in strengthening mainland China’s economic prowess.  

According to Aman Mehta, who is Hong Kong’s Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, members of the Chinese Diaspora have been a catalytic force in shaping the fast growing economy of China.  

“Some maintain that the so-called ‘Bamboo Network’ of more than 50 million overseas Chinese has been extremely successful in leveraging their extensive business and political contacts to create enormous business empires,” said Mehta. 

However, close scrutiny of the investment patterns of the overseas Chinese in China would indicate that their move was not motivated by family or cultural ties but of the opportunities the mainland offered. 

Meanwhile, chairman of Diwanchand Group, Thailand Shivnath Raj Bajaj said it was the general perception among businessmen that India still lagged behind in comparison with China in contentious areas such as labour and judicial reform, power sector reform, dismantling of subsidies and privatisation.  

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