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Chitra Rajora asked: What is India's diaspora policy in Central Asian countries?

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  • Meena Singh Roy replies: There is no specific Indian diaspora policy in Central Asia. As compared to Indians living in the Gulf, the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), the number of Indians in Central Asian Republics (CARs) is quite less. There are around 19,490 Indians (7,800 in Kazakhstan, 8,100 in Kyrgyzstan, 1,550 in Tajikistan, 240 in Turkmenistan and 1,800 in Uzbekistan) out of a population of about 75.3 million in CARs. They mainly consist of NRI (Non-Resident Indian) students, entrepreneurs, traders, workers in the oil sector, managers, representatives of Indian or multinational corporations and others working in banks, the IT sector and hotels. Indians living in CARs are doing well and have adapted to the local conditions.

    In Kazakhstan, the success of Ispat International in turning a Soviet-era steel plant around has impacted positively the image of the Indian community. Besides Ispat Karmet, which is an NRI company, there are many other Indian companies like Ajanta Pharma, Dr Reddy's Labs, Ranbaxy, Core, Lupin, IPCA and USV in Kazakhstan. Similarly, many NRIs are employed by Indian companies and multinationals in Uzbekistan. For now, economic and trade ties between India and CARs are the most unsatisfactory part of otherwise strong political and strategic relations. However, in future, as economic ties improve and opportunities open up due to new economic policies/reforms in CARs, particularly in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the Indian Diaspora is likely to increase.

    It is equally important to note that various India Culture Centres in CARs are very active in projecting Indian culture and attracting Central Asian youth in greater numbers to various training programmes. Such enhanced interaction is likely to bring more Indian teachers teaching yoga, music and dance in CARs.

    Posted on May 31, 2021

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.