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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks into the historical evolution of the relationship between the Indian state and the Indian diaspora to explain both the nature of the diaspora itself as well as the ways in which it has served to influence Indian foreign policy. Briefly tracing the complex history of colonial and post-colonial migrations, the chapter first makes the claim that despite a common origin, there exist very diverse emigrant communities with distinct political trajectories and socio-economic interests. Therefore, one should be cautious about framing the Indian diaspora as a unitary actor that has consciously and effectively shaped foreign policy. Beyond that, it also argues that despite specific moments when the concerns of the diaspora seemed to be prominent in foreign policy deliberations, the diaspora as a whole has been and continues to be marginal in the formulation of India’s foreign policy.

Keywords: diaspora, foreign policy, migration, emigrant communities, India

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