|Demand of the question|
Introduction. What is diaspora diplomacy?
Body. Discuss the usefulness and limitations of diaspora diplomacy.
Conclusion. Way forward.
Diaspora refers to the scattered population of a country whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Diaspora diplomacy is the practice of influence and negotiations between nations by using the country’s diaspora to pursue the advancement of the home country. India has the world’s largest diaspora, about 17.5 million and receives the highest remittance of $78.6 billion from Indians living abroad (Global Migration Report 2020). Indian government has always given serious consideration to the enormous financial and political heft of the diaspora.
Usefulness of diaspora diplomacy:
- Promote trade: They help to promote trade across national boundaries by acting as middlemen by providing market information and consumer preferences in both host and origin countries.
- FDI: They help their home country through their implicit method of attracting foreign direct investments (FDI).
- Instruments of exchange: They serve as instruments for knowledge exchanges, transfer of skills and technology between their host and origin countries.
- Economic development: Diasporas have been contributing to the development of their home countries through the sending of remittances, as well as managing businesses in the latter. The Diaspora helps in poverty alleviation at household level though remittances that are being sent to their relatives.
- Promote soft power: Diasporas promote the image and culture of their homeland. Thus they act as a tool to display soft power of a nation. Soft power is the ability to affect others in order to acquire the planned outcomes through attraction, instead of coercion or the use of force.
- Promote cooperation: Diasporas promote friendship and cooperation between the host and origin country through their personal contacts and networks.
Limitations of diaspora diplomacy:
- Linguistic barrier: In some countries like Uganda, the diversity of culture specifically in the aspect of language makes it difficult for the government to unite their diaspora community in order for the latter to contribute effectively to national development.
- Loyalty: The second issue is that politically active members of the diaspora don’t necessarily support the country’s actions, and often, because they are of Indian origin, hold loyalty to their home nation.
- Less strength: Most of the diaspora migrate to other countries for better opportunities. Diasporic community in a country may not be large enough to make a difference.
- May not wish to engage: The other limitation of Diaspora diplomacy lies in the fact that Diasporas may not wish to engage with their home nation given their critical view of their home country and its government. This may lead Diasporas to vocally express their criticism impacting the image of the country.
The process of diaspora is speedily emerging as one of the forces towards development in the globalizing world. Diasporas abroad amass human and financial capital for the economic and social development of their host communities. Efforts like Pravasi Bharatiya divas plays an important role in garnering support of Diaspora for diplomatic efforts.