The pitch is aggressive for the BJP when it comes to overseas Indians. Perhaps it stems from the party’s belief that the ownership of the Pravasi movement—the first two Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) events were held during the NDA regime in 2003 and 2004—vests with it. Perhaps it stems from the party’s belief that the Bharatvanshis, as the BJP would like to call the descendants of the fourth and fifth generation emigrants to far away destinations, have a better understanding of India through the BJP and what it stands for, more than what the Congress could offer anytime during the 10-year UPA regime. Perhaps it stems from the party’s belief that the Congress’ Pravasi movement was at best a stop-start one, and its responses to the Pravasis’ aspirations largely lukewarm.
Whatever it is, one thing is clear, the BJP and its overseas unit, the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP), is going all out to woo Indians abroad. In the past few months there has been a flurry of activities with the OFBJP’s convenor, Vijay Jolly, leading several trips across continents, the most recent being a 12-day one to the USA (and Canada) that paves the way for Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s visit in late September to the USA and his address to the Indian Diaspora at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Our cover story looks at this pan-continental pitch.
As the USA prepares to welcome Mr Modi—the visit comes on the heels of the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Japan and the Chinese President’s visit to India—expectations are high on both sides. We have carried a speech by Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega at a hearing of Indo-US relations. The speech captures the mood in the USA quite succinctly on the eve of PM Modi’s visit.
Consulting Editor Paras Ramoutar has spelt out strategies for enhanced cooperation between Trinidad and Tobago and India, especially keeping in mind that a majority of that Caribbean nation’s Indian-origin youth will have to work doubly hard to keep up their ties going with the land of their ancestors. Diaspora expert Shubha Singh has captured the journey of indentured workers to the French West Indies (Guadeloupe) after attending a function at the Puducherry University in August.