Indian Diaspora in the ASEAN-Pacific Region: Historical and Contemporary Engagements

Author:   Prakash C. Jain
Publisher:   GRFDT
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This paper highlights the salient features of the Indian Diaspora in the ASEAN-Pacific region in the context of the on-going globalisation as well as historically. It briefly discusses the origins and evolution of the Indian diaspora in 20 countries of the region consisting of 11 ASEAN countries and nine others. It is argued that the modern Indian diaspora in this region was caused by the British colonialism in India and abroad. Indians emigrated as indentured, kangani/maistry and voluntary labourers to work on rubber, rice, sugar, tea, coffee, and oil-palm plantations. The Indian traders and various categories of office workers also migrated to Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Burma, Malaya, Singapore and Fiji. In all these and other countries of the region, namely Australia, New Zealand and Thailand the Indian immigrants included entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, accountants, managers, IT professionals, etc. Migration patterns and population estimates apart, the major focus of the article however is on the impact of the Indian Diaspora on the economic development, political processes and socio-cultural affairs of the host countries. It also highlights the diaspora-homeland relations, including Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards given to the select eminent overseas Indians of the region.
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