The extraordinary success of the Indian diaspora, spreading across 110 countries and numbering 30 million is well recognised. It has helped to integrate India with the global economies and has made a critical contribution to the Indian economy. They have served like a kind of brand ambassadors for India as well as bridge builders between India and the international community. They have been like a key to unlocking new doors of opportunity for the Indian economy and industry.
As per the available information, Myanmar harbours the highest number of 'people of Indian origin', with not less than 2.5 million ethnic Indians living there. Today, Indian diaspora no longer signifies, rather the success of Indians working abroad has benefited our country as well. A large number of them have excelled in their respective professions, in diverse fields ranging from academia to the corporate world. For example, in Silicon Valley, ethnic Indian technopreneurs form a significant constituency. Their success in the US has been a catalyst for India’s own success in the software industry. Nineteen of the top 20 Indian software businesses are founded or managed by the Indian diaspora.
According to the World Bank, Indian diaspora sends US$27 billion in remittances back to India each year, the largest sum for any country. They also contribute knowledge of the world, international networks, new ideas, technologies and markets to their homeland. With the support of its diaspora, India has become a world leader in business process outsourcing, information technology and pharmaceuticals.
Non-Resident Indians hold equity stakes in a fairly large number of Indian companies. About 87 companies in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) 100 index featured NRI holdings as of March 2008. They generally have tended to be more stable investors as compared to foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
The ethnic Indian communities have made their contributions by participating actively in the political life of their adopted countries. Indians have emerged as Presidents, Prime Ministers and national leaders, especially in Africa, the Caribbean, the USA, the Asia Pacific and South East Asia. Indians have achieved this glory through sheer dint of their native intelligence, hard work and an innate capacity to merge with host societies and communities.
India's integration into the regional network benefits immensely from its diaspora. Trade between India and the diverse regions has been expanding rapidly. Indian companies are venturing abroad in large numbers, developing the markets and setting up operations in many countries.
Besides, individual NRIs have done considerable charitable work in India. The Indian diaspora has responded with contributions in times of need such as wars and natural disasters. Estimates on the inflow of diasporic philanthropy are difficult to come by because a large part of it is carried out through informal channels. Most charitable donations by overseas Indians are given to organisations where there is a personal link through family or friends.
The Indian diaspora is the second largest in the world and is well placed to help India go global. It is even said that, India would have found it harder to grow as quickly as it did, since reforms and deregulation began in 1991.