Modi’s Cultural Diplomacy and Role of Indian Diaspora
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came into the helm of affairs, he has stressed the role of the Indian Diaspora in Indian foreign policy making because he had realized the importance of the Diaspora in his development strategy. More than 25 million members of the Indian Diaspora are scattered around the world, which includes more than 3 million Indian origin Diaspora in the United States (US). According to the Ministry of Indian Overseas Affairs [This Ministry has been scrapped during National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government], the Indian Diaspora is the second largest in the world after China. Thus, it is imperative to give importance to Indian foreign policy framing. This trend is new in Indian policy making as India had hardly focused on its Diaspora to tap their resources, potential and assets that they have. In 2015, former Indian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that ‘India’s soft power diplomacy now goes beyond books, culture and cinema’. Mr Modi made a total of 49 foreign trips by May 2017 to woo the Indian Diaspora. In almost every meeting during his foreign visit, he urged the Indian Diaspora to be a part of Indian development by investing in the Indian economy, by donating to the clean river Ganges program, and participating in Indian rural development programmes as well. In this context, this article expounds the role of the NDA government’s cultural diplomacy in Indian foreign policy making. This article also seeks to answer what the Indian government’s strategy to tap the ‘resources’ of the Indian Diaspora is. Finally, the article examines the role of the Indian Diaspora in the development strategy of India.
Keywords: Modi, NDA government, Indian diaspora, resources and foreign policy