The doors of Indian institutions are always open for the Indian diaspora who will be equal partners in ‘Amrit Kaal’
Over three crore Indian origin people, the diaspora, live in all parts of the world. Some of them are heads of the states. Some are driving global tech behemoths. They are the brains in the laboratories world over for solutions to problems faced by humanities. The Indian diaspora is an asset to countries of their residences.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee first thought to connect with the Indian diaspora. Pravasi Bharat was conceptualised by him. The 17th edition of India’s dialogue with diaspora took place in the cleanest city of India in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, which saw the participation of over 3,000 people of Indian origin.
On January 9, 1915, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India to serve his country in her struggle against British Rule. Late Vajpayee accorded the highest honour to the Indian diaspora by deciding that January 9 would be the ‘Pravasi Bharat Diwas’.
The 17th edition of the Pravasi Bharat Diwas was hosted on the theme of the ‘Indian diaspora reliable partner in Amrit Kaal’. The next 25 years will shape the destiny of India, and by the time the country celebrates 100 years of Indian Independence, it will be a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and our freedom fighters to reclaim the glory that India was known for in the previous centuries before the Mughals and the British looted the wealth of the country.
The 3,500 participants of the Indian diaspora from 70 countries were joyous at the strides India has made in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The vision for the country that late Vajpayee had shown to the Indian diaspora is now visibly taking shape before the eyes of the people of Indian origins.
The Indian Passport now brings global respect. The world has seen the strength of the Indian passport. The Indian diaspora in the previous decades needed the matinee star Manoj Kumar to tell the world what is India, as he hummed—“mein Bharat ka hun, Bharat ki baat sunata hun (I am from India, and tell stories from India)”. Now, the sight of Indian passport tells stories of the achievements to the global audience loudly.
The Indian diaspora is no more slotted with the people of Pakistani origin, for even the Pakistan nationals fake even in the Muslim countries such as the UAE that they are Indians. This is on account of the Indian diaspora making firm imprints of their skills in whichever country they reside.
PM Modi was aware of late Vajpayee’s vision for diaspora connect when he made it a point that he would connect with them during each of his foreign visit. Thus, the Indian diaspora has been a companion of the Indian journey in the last eight and a half years since PM Modi took charge of the government at the Centre. PM Modi made no distinction between the people in India and those who live abroad, as he gave an account of the achievements of the country to the Indian diaspora in full detail. He, thus, showed the commitment that the government is committed to the interests of the Indian diaspora.
The Indian diaspora has also been deeply connected with the country of their origin. They never gave up their roots. They were bound by a strong sense of belonging to the country. The success of International Yoga Day, Ayurveda, Indian classical music and dance, the history of India, and many others have seen the participation of the Indian diaspora. The Indian diaspora has shown belief in the country, as the remittances are now at par with the foreign direct investment annually, which is a feat without a parallel for any of the economy.
Now, Diwali and Holi are international festivals and so is Chatth. The White House in the US celebrates Diwali and Holi. The tallest buildings in the world capitals celebrate the Indian festivals. India’s Independence Day is now celebrated internationally.
PM Modi very deservingly called the Indian diaspora ‘Rashtradoots’. He also rightly lauded the Indian diaspora for being the peaceful and disciplined citizens of the countries of their residences. This has indeed been a defining attribute of the Indian diaspora, for they only enrich the countries of the residences with their skills and culture.
Germany and Australia recently signed pacts with India for skills development and easing the migration of trained manpower from India. The free trade agreements signed by India with some of the countries such as the UAE, Australia, ASEAN, while the work is in progress in the case of the European Union, the UK and the US, have accorded top priority to migration. The government under the leadership of PM Modi has ensured that the developed world benefits from the trained manpower of India.
Indeed, the developed world is facing the grey tsunami, as they deal with an older population, and their economies would be banking heavily on Indian manpower. The Indian economy too is transforming, having become the fifth largest economy, and the third big economy status too is within sight, which will be achieved within a few years.
The Indian diaspora will have to play a key role in the fast expansion of the economy, from $5 trillion within a few years to $50 trillion by 2047, which will be incumbent upon rapid skilling. The Indian diaspora is already contributing to the skilling efforts of India and technology sharing. But that would be needed to scale up. A section of the Indian diaspora has deep emotional connections with Indian institutions such as the IITs, IIMs, NITs and so on. Some of them are already scaling up their connections with these institutions. But many of them may have to decide that the time has come to take the roles of mentors to the students in laboratories and young entrepreneurs of startups to share their knowledge and skills to make the mission of the ‘Make in India, Make for World’ a grand success.
The global supply chain is undergoing a rejig of the key suppliers in the post-pandemic era. India during the pandemic showed that the country is a reliable partner to the world in times of crisis by ensuring that Indian participation in the global supply chains was never disrupted even while the country went under a national lockdown briefly.
The relevant Indian institutions are already considering the remote voting rights to non-resident Indians. The government has also ensured that the Indian diaspora feels welcomed at places in the country they visit. India has ramped up the ease of travel for the Indian diaspora. The doors of Indian institutions are always open for the Indian diaspora. They are equal partners of India in the ‘Amrit Kaal’. The next 25 years will be the age of the Indian diaspora as well.
(Sumeet Bhasin: The author is the Director of Public Policy Research Centre)
In a great achiever list of PIOs, Indian-origin Manpreet Monica Singh has been sworn in as a Harris county judge, becoming the first female Sikh judge in the US. Ms Singh was born and raised in Houston and now lives in Bellaire with her husband and two children.
Ms Monica was sworn in as a judge of the Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 4 in Texas on last Friday.
Social activist, Writer and philanthropist Sudha Murthy on Wednesday prayed for the well-being of her son-in-law and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a temple in coastal Maharashtra's Sindhudurg district.
Sudha Murthy, who arrived in Devgad tehsil of the district, around 500 km from Mumbai, the previous evening, visited the Durga Devi temple at Baparde village in the morning. A video that went viral on social media showed the priest at the temple praying to Goddess Durga on Murthy's behalf, seeking well-being of her son-in-law who recently became the first Indian-origin prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Rishi Sunak happens to be Hindu by faith, but this fact is unlikely to make him pro-India
With Rishi Sunak becoming the third Prime Minister in two months, there are great expectations from him, especially because he has the experience, as a former finance minister, to tackle the economic crisis that Britain faces. Just like his immediate predecessor, Liz Truss, he is a Thatcherite. “My values are Thatcherite. I believe in hard work, family and integrity. I am a Thatcherite, I am running as a Thatcherite and I will govern as a Thatcherite,” he wrote in a newspaper. But there is also a difference between him and his predecessor in this regard: while Truss’ adoption of Thatcherite principles was doctrinaire, Sunak believes in a pragmatic approach. Truss seemed impatient; she wanted to undertake Thatcherite reforms like tax cuts in a hasty fashion, without taking the fiscal situation into account. Since public finance is related to inflation and interest rates, her earlier announcements hit bond markets hard. But the blowback shook her; he had to remove her finance minister and dump the reforms. This, she believed, would “reassure the markets of our fiscal discipline,” but that didn’t happen. Her policy U-turn also made her political position untenable, leading to her exit. Right from the beginning, he has been critical of the imprudent decisions made by Truss. When the two leaders were fighting for the prime ministerial office a few months ago, Sunak had expressed his skepticism over Truss’ bold and audacious (which now look disastrous) plans. While Truss’ Thatcherism was filled with ideological enthusiasm, Sunak’s looks more grounded. Which is not surprising given his background as a banker and entrepreneur.
Rishi Sunak, who is the son-in-law of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, also happens to be the first British Asian and Hindu Prime Minister of the UK. The 42-year-old went to Winchester College and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University, according to a British Government website. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University (USA) where he studied for his MBA. Many Indians are feeling vicarious pleasure in Sunak’s ascension, though he never lived in India. The saffron brigade is jubilant that a Hindu now heads the top office in Britain that ruled India for over a couple of centuries. More excited deshbhakts are using the term ‘reverse colonialism,’ as if we have sort of righted a historical wrong. Serious Indians should trash such notions with the disdain that these deserve, for Sunak doesn’t appear any less British than his predecessors. He is a devout Hindu, and his Diwali photographs have gone viral, but his faith is unlikely to influence the course of Indo-British ties. There is nothing on record to suggest that he would do anything that would benefit India. And last, but not least, Sunak’s rise gives the lie to the theories Left-liberals keep spreading about racism in Western societies. Which non-Western nation would accept a white person as their head of government?
Former US Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard announced her exit from the Democratic Party, blaming the party for racializing every issue in the nation and denouncing it as the "elitist cabal of warmongers." Gabbard made the announcement in an approximately 30-minute video posted on her social media account, as she attacked the institution for its practices.
She blamed the Democratic party for anti-white racism, the former representative announced that she can no longer be a member of the party she remained a part of for 20 years. Notably, Ms Tulsi Gabbard was the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress to run for the presidential post.
International Gita Mahotsav was celebrated in Canada from 16-18 September 2022. It started in Canada’s Parliament on 16th September 2022. On day two it was celebrated at the Living Art Center of Mississauga. It ended on Yonge-Dundas Square in the downtown Toronto community on day three with a Shobha yatra parade.
Speaking at the event Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament Nepean, House of Commons of Canada emphasized his private member’s bill to celebrate November as Hindu Heritage Month. Chandra Arya stated that government should recognize the contributions that Hindu Canadians have made to the socio-economic development of Canada and their services to Canadian society.
Swami Advaitananda Giri, Chairman, International Meditation Foundation said ”As per the Mental Health Commission of Canada 1 in 5 people in Canada lives with a mental illness each year. As per the British Census 2021 around 1 in 5 (21%) adults experienced some form of depression. In America, US CDC 2022 reports that 32.3% overall population is affected by Anxiety or Depression disorders.
Swami Advaitananda Giri further stated “A serious question arises If 32.3% of the population is having serious mental health issues like anxiety or depression then It can be safely presumed that to have an anxiety or depression rate of 32.3 %, there must be a need for at least 3 times more sad people in the population, this leads to 32.3% x 3 = 96.9% of the total population. If 97% population is experiencing sadness then that requires immediate work to fix the problem. Bhagwat Gita in life is the solution for it and people of other faith follow their own path and that is the solution for them.
A message from Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau welcoming everyone to Parliament Hill in this Mahotsav was also read out at the programme. The Prime Minister said “such events not only bring Canadians together but also greatly encourage them to celebrate their diversity. He said that the message of peace, harmony and brotherhood taught in the Bhagavad Gita is universal.” A video message from Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Yog Guru Baba Ramdev was also played during the program. In the message, the Chief Minister said that with the inspiration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, since 2016, we are celebrating Gita Mahotsav at the International level. In the Mahotsav Apoorva Srivastava, Consulate General of India, Patric Brown, Mayor of Brampton, Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, Nina Tangri MPP of Streetsville, Deepak Anand, MPP of Malton also stated their views.
Global major advertising and public relations agency Ogilvy has named India-born Devika Bulchandani as its Global Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Bulchandani, who has been serving as Global President and CEO of Ogilvy North America, succeeds Andy Main who is stepping down as Global CEO and will serve as a Senior Advisor until the end of the year, the company said in a statement.
In her new role she will be responsible for all aspects of the creative network's business across 131 offices in 93 countries and spanning its advertising, public relations, experience, consulting, and health units, it added.
Ogilvy is part of global top marketing and communications group, WPP.
Vedant Patel, the Principal Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State, has scripted history by becoming the first Indian-American to hold the daily State Department press briefing, earning plaudits from senior White House officials for his “utmost professionalism” and “amazing debut”.
With State Department Spokesperson Ned Price on vacation, the 33-year-old Patel from California on Tuesday appeared at the briefing room in the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department to represent the country on foreign policy issues before the media.
During his briefing, Patel covered topics ranging from Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine, negotiations around the Iranian nuclear issue and Liz Truss becoming the Prime Minister of the United King
US President Joe Biden has named Indian American Richard Verma, who is also a former ambassador to India, to a White House body that advises the president on the effectiveness of the country's sprawling intelligence community.
Biden also named retired Admiral James A. "Sandy" Winnefeld as chair of the body - President's Intelligence Advisory Board, - and Janet Napolitano, a former secretary of the department of homeland security (a cabinet position) and Gilman G. Louie as members, like Verma.
The White House said the advisory board serves as an independent element within the executive office of the and that it exists exclusively to assist the president by providing him with an "independent source of advice on the effectiveness with which the Intelligence Community is meeting the nation's intelligence needs and the vigor and insight with which the community plans for the future".
Verma is currently with Mastercard as its general counsel and head of global public policy. He was sent to India as ambassador by President Barack Obama in 2014 - he was the first Indian American to be named US ambassador to India. He had earlier served in the state department as assistant secretary of state and National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader.
Verma was an active member of Biden's 2020 presidential campaign and led the team's outreach to the Indian American community.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William J. Burns announced the appointment of Nand Mulchandani to serve as the US spy agency's first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
With more than 25 years' experience working in Silicon Valley as well as the Department of Defense (DoD), Mulchandani brings substantial private sector, startup, and government expertise to CIA, CIA said in a statement.
As the CTO, Mulchandani will ensure the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations and scanning the horizon for tomorrow's innovations to further CIA's mission. "Since my confirmation, I have prioritised focusing on technology and the new CTO position is a very important part of that effort. I am delighted Nand has joined our team and will bring his extensive experience to this crucial new role," said Burns.
Prior to joining CIA, Mulchandani most recently served as the CTO and Acting Director of DoD's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He also co-founded and was CEO of several successful startups? Oblix (acquired by Oracle), Determina (acquired by VMWare), OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco), and ScaleXtreme (acquired by Citrix).
He has a degree in Computer Science and Math from Cornell, a Master of Science degree in Management from Stanford, and a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard.
"I am honoured to join CIA in this role and look forward to working with the Agency's incredible team of technologists and domain experts who already deliver world-class intelligence and capabilities to help build a comprehensive technology strategy that delivers exciting capabilities working closely with industry and partners," said Mulchandani.
Members of America's influential Congressional Hispanic Caucus have urged US President Joe Biden to champion vaccine collaboration with India to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter dated March 10 to Biden, Texas delegation members and other members (Hispanic areas), requested the administration to lead distribution of low-cost vaccines to low-income nations with low vaccination rates to save millions of lives and bring an end to the worldwide pandemic.
The lawmakers urged the President to use the two vaccines which are a result of India-US collaborations for the global good and to end vaccine inequity through Corbevax and Covovax.
While the CORBEVAX vaccine is patent-free, another vaccine, developed by American biotechnology company Novavax, is in production in India and its export is planned to the COVAX facility.
“We think the United States has the opportunity to champion these vaccines created by American expertise for countries where vaccine inequality is taking its toll on some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people,” the lawmakers wrote.
“To this end, the US can partner with like-minded countries to ensure an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. We request the White House to consider the use of these vaccines in partnership with countries across the globe, in a manner similar to the QUAD vaccine initiative and ensure an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” they said.
The letter was signed by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who is Vice Chair, House Armed Services Committee and Democratic Women's Caucus; Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, House Judiciary and House Financial Services Committees; Congresswoman Vicente Gonzalez, House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Congresswoman Jimmy Gomez, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and House Committee on Ways and Means.
This letter is in addition to the letters written by the Powerful Congressional Black Caucus which commended the government of India in its efforts to help Africa and Caribbean.
The letter signed by the Chair of the Caucus - Congresswoman Joyce Beatty also identified India as a major partner to end vaccine inequity in the developing world.
Other signatories to the letter were Congressman Michael San Nicolas, Juan Vargas, Jim Costa, Darren Soto, Ro Khanna and Linda Sanchez.
For more than a year, India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu and India's diplomatic missions have focused on engagement with US Congress, administration, think-tanks and industry on promoting India-US vaccine collaborations.
Congressional outreach has resulted in over 100 members of the House of Representatives supporting India's proposal for a TRIPS waiver at the WTO for COVID-19 vaccines.
Notably, there was also specific outreach to important Caucuses on this issue: Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Caucus on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Earlier, a letter from the Chairs of the three Caucus was also sent to President Biden, urging him to partner with countries to end vaccine inequity.
A vaccine roundtable was organised last month by the embassy with participation of billionaire American business magnate Bill Gates, WHO's Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan and Dr Peter Hotez among others.
The case for India-US vaccine collaborations to be used in third countries was also argued in a recent Houston Chronicle OpEd penned by Ambassador Sandhu.
The lawmakers wrote that the CORBEVAX vaccine was recently granted an emergency use authorisation from India's drug regulation agency.
Indian vaccine manufacturer Biological E Limited is now making 100 million doses per month and has already sold 300 million doses to the Indian government, the letter said.
“India is a shining example of the immense international potential CORBEVAX holds for low- and middle- income countries.
“We continue to ask the federal government and G7 nations for assistance to co-develop this recombinant protein vaccine with new partners in low-resource countries and we continue to ask the federal government and G7 nations for assistance to co-develop this recombinant protein vaccine with new partners in low-resource countries and should CORBEVAX file domestically,” the lawmakers said.
They also urged the Food and Drug Administration to consider reviewing the vaccine for emergency use authorisation.
“Waiting to support the use of this vaccine on an international scale would jeopardise millions of lives, and we urge the administration to back the use of CORBEVAX globally,” the lawmakers added.