The Gulf region holds significant importance due to its large Indian diaspora, making it the largest contributor to India’s remittances, according to the World Bank.
Over 8 million Indians reside in Gulf countries, creating a vital socio-economic link between the two regions.
Indian Diaspora – Assets:
Remittances: The remittances sent by the Indian diaspora in Gulf countries play a crucial role in India’s Balance of Payments (BoP) and provide essential income for numerous Indian families.
For instance, in 2020, India received approximately $83 billion in remittances, making it a vital source of foreign exchange.
Social Capital: The Indian diaspora also acts as a repository of social connections and networks that facilitate economic cooperation and cultural exchange between India and Gulf countries.
These connections often aid in business ventures, investments, and knowledge exchange.
The Indian diaspora serves as an integral component of India’s soft power, projecting its culture, traditions, and values to the world.
Many members of the Indian diaspora hold influential political positions in Gulf countries, contributing to enhanced diplomatic relations and bilateral cooperation.
The diaspora’s influence extends to shaping foreign policy decisions of host countries in favor of India’s interests, owing to their economic contributions and social networks.
Discrimination: Indians in Gulf countries often face discrimination, particularly laborers who endure poor living conditions and unjust working environments.
For instance, the “Khaleej System” in some countries binds laborers to unfavorable contracts and living conditions.
Reverse Migration: The prevalence of unskilled labor jobs in Gulf countries can lead to reverse migration when economic conditions deteriorate.
The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this trend as job losses became widespread.
Conflict in the Gulf Region: The ongoing conflicts, such as the Yemen crisis, can pose security risks to the Indian diaspora in the region.
The need for evacuation and safeguarding their well-being becomes a concern during such situations.
The Indian diaspora in Gulf countries holds immense potential and its contributions to India’s development are significant.
Crafting a comprehensive diaspora diplomacy strategy is crucial to harnessing the full potential of this diaspora and transforming it into a valuable diaspora dividend.
As the diaspora becomes more prosperous, it can play an even greater role in enhancing India’s global stature and fostering stronger ties between India and the Gulf region.