Parley of PIO Parliamentarians Welcomed

Parley of PIO Parliamentarians Welcomed
Photo : Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Members of Parliament (MP) of Indian origin will meet in New Delhi of January 9 and 10 with the Prime Minister of India (Shri Narendra Modi) and other government officials. There are some 285 MPs of Indian origin from dozens of countries from both the developed and the developing worlds. India is a natural ally of all of these countries and provides many of them (particularly from the less developed world) with a lot of developmental assistance although getting very little in return from the developing countries or LDCs. Yet India is doing right by seeking to strengthen relations with LDCs by interacting with their MPs of Indian descent.

India is covering all of the costs associated with the meeting including transportation, boarding and lodging. There is no doubt that this summit will help to strengthen relations between India and diaspora countries although India derives virtually no strategic or economic benefits from the relationship.

No other country has held a similar gathering of its diaspora. There are several benefits for overseas Indians from the government of India. For example, people of Indian origin are entitled to a PIO card, that is now changed to a Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card giving them all rights as a citizen in India, except voting rights.

India’s hosting of this international conference of members of parliaments who are of Indian origin from around the globe is most welcomed. India-diaspora meetings will help to cement ties and boost relationship among countries (particularly with the less developed countries which) receive enormous benefits from India. For example, Fiji, Mauritius, Malawi, Ghana, Guyana and the Caribbean, and other relatively poor societies where Indians are domiciled (diaspora) derive critical and unique (economic, political, social and cultural) benefits (developmental assistance) from their relationship with India. Even the wealthy countries benefit from their relationship with India in the form of trade and technology transfer and skilled labor from India. Indian engineers and medical professionals and skilled labor are in demand in the developed economies of North America, Europe, and Austral-Asia.

The poor economies in the so called LDC world benefit enormously from intelligence, weather reports, skill training, technology transfer in a variety of areas, support for agriculture, etc. provided by India free of cost. India doles out tens of millions of dollars annually to Guyana, Trinidad and other Caribbean nations. In fact a few of us from the Caribbean in New York have been lobbying the Indian government for increased financial assistance to Guyana. The developing countries have no better friend in the world than India which does not interfere in their internal affairs.

Tactically, India stands with the developing countries of the South and has been against imperialism and economic exploitation. India promotes a global vision for development with its assistance stimulating economies through trade, technological innovation, and job creation.

It is praiseworthy that the Indian government has taken the initiative to develop closer relations with diaspora communities through their MPs in a frank and open discussion. It is hoped that Guyana M.Ps, for example, will use the opportunity to seek India's assistance to promote democratic governance and free and fair elections and to address racism and constitutional violations in that country