Every year on January 9, India celebrates Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, on the day when the great Paravasi, Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915. Since 2002, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided that Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be celebrated every year and events will be held including bestowing awards on prominent members of the Indian diaspora. This year 15th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held in Bengaluru. But it seems the process of deciding and conferring awards has gone the Padma awards way, where politics and hectic lobbying trump merit.
Many Indians migrated to West and West Asian countries following oil cartelisation by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states face two new challenges today. First, the environmental concerns which have pushed for non-polluting renewable sources of energy and the shale oil revolution in the United States, combined with prevailing low oil prices and slower global growth. Second, Shia-Sunni contestation from west of India up to the Mediterranean and the challenge posed by fundamentalist radical Islam may lead to instability persisting for decades
The general Indian policy is not to meddle in internal affairs of the countries as it may be counterproductive. The two vital links have been cricket and religion. But India has not been able to build on that. The question is to what extent will India go to protect its diaspora if it runs into the rough weather of political turbulence between the countries. It is also very important to market nationalism not Hindutva or jingoism based on religion as this would divide the diaspora along religious lines.