PM Narendra Modi struck a chord with the migrant workers in Doha, Qatar during his recent trip to Qatar. Often overlooked & left to their own devices by the Government of Bharat, the Bharatiya diaspora abroad is at last feeling that their home country cares for them.
The emotional connect established by PM Modi through a simple gesture like having lunch with the workers is apparent from the remarks by the workers in Doha –
“It was like meeting someone from our family, it got me teary-eyed”
“A 1st in Indian history, other politicians should wonder why this didnt happen sooner”
— KV (Kunal Vimal) (@kvQuote) June 4, 2016
— Kiran Kumar S (@KiranKS) June 4, 2016
The outreach to Bharatiyas residing abroad has been one of the defining features of PM Modi’s administration. Bharatiyas residing abroad, for work or studies, have usually felt orphaned by the Government once they leave the country; the vast Hindu diaspora who’s parents migrated to places like Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad, US etc during the 19th and 20th centuries have also felt neglected by Bharat. The last time any Government made a consistent effort to engage with the diaspora was during the NDA-1 administration when PM Vajpayee set up a high-level committee to engage with the diaspora and look at all issues concerning non-resident Bharatiyas and persons of Bharatiya origin.
PM Modi’s critics have tried to project his trips abroad as a waste of taxpayer’s money. But what they have chosen to overlook is the significant boost to our international diplomacy, bilateral and multi-lateral agreements signed, economic deals struck, and most importantly – the sense of pride and recognition these trips have evoked in common Bharatiyas living & working abroad.
And these trips are not stand-alone events. The whole Government machinery is a seeing a gradual re-orientation to become more accountable towards the diaspora. The remarkable evacuation of around 4000 Bharatiyas from the war-zone in Yemen, the promptness of the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in assisting Bharatiyas in distress abroad, the merger of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs – all these speak of a welcome change in attitudes of the Government. The neglect of the Congress era seems a thing of the past, and the babus in IFS are being pushed harder to show results.
While much-much more needs to be done, especially with regards to protecting the human rights of Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South-East Asia and elsewhere, the Modi Government deserves applause for its initiatives which have changed the apathy of past Government towards Bharatiyas abroad.