Triumph of the Indian Diaspora (Part 1)

The Indian diaspora's unrivaled success, trustworthiness, and global impact contrasts with the challenges faced by the Chinese diaspora, propelling India towards greater heights while fostering global relations.

Published: Jul 8, 2023  |  

Journalist and presenter of ‘India Matters’


In the tapestry of human migration, a story of unparalleled triumph emerges—the ascent of the Indian diaspora. Today, it stands as a testament to the fiery spirit, resolute determination, and unrivaled success that sets it apart from its Chinese counterpart. 

The Indian diaspora is the largest in the world, serving as an invaluable resource that fuels the engine of India’s government and propels the nation towards greater heights. In this piece, we delve into the achievements and influence of the Indian diaspora while unraveling the multifaceted layers that make it a truly powerful force.

Harnessing a global force

The Indian diaspora transcends geographic boundaries, leaving an indelible mark across continents. Its impact reverberates throughout countries as diverse as the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia. Within these nations, Indian migrants wield their influence in an array of fields and industries, reflecting their versatility and prowess.

An astonishing attribute of this diaspora lies in the high percentage of individuals possessing undergraduate or higher degrees, attesting to their unwavering commitment to education and intellectual growth. This distinguishing feature sharply contrasts with the Chinese diaspora, which, despite its numerical advantage, confronts a labyrinth of skepticism and mistrust.

The Indian diaspora, in contrast, has gained the trust of many of its allies, and its achievements are celebrated as a testament to the power of their society’s diversity and inclusion.

Unlike the Indian diaspora, Chinese in the U.S. have been marred with several cases involving intellectual property theft, national security breaches, and an increase in cybersecurity incidents. These incidents have contributed to a growing erosion of public trust in China within the U.S. It is crucial to recognize that such actions cannot be generalized to an entire diaspora, but the U.S. public perception of China is at an all-time low. 

The infiltration of various ranks of the U.S. political system by Fang Fang, a Chinese spy, caused significant alarm within the intelligence community and shed light on the extent of Chinese efforts in this regard. One such case involved the arrest of a Chinese professor, Xiaoxing Xi, in 2015. He was accused of sharing sensitive technology information with individuals in China but was later cleared of the charges and had them dropped.

Another high-profile case involved the arrest of three Chinese researchers, Wang Xin, Song Chen, and Zhao Kaikai, in 2019. They were charged with visa fraud and lying to American authorities about their affiliations with the Chinese military. These cases exemplify instances where individuals of Chinese descent studying or working in the U.S. have faced legal repercussions related to alleged espionage activities. 

No such cases have been associated with Indian diaspora in the U.S. Hence, it was not a surprise that President Biden expressed admiration for the contributions of Indians and Indian Americans in the United States during Modi’s recent state visit. President Biden’s praise for Indians and Indian Americans reflects an acknowledgment of their positive impact in various fields and their significant presence in the country.

Driving economic growth and empowerment

Indian migrants contribute to their motherland through a trifecta of invaluable resources—remittances, language skills, and business connections. Their financial contributions stimulate cross-border trade and investment, while their language proficiency fosters cultural understanding and global collaboration. 

Through robust business networks, the diaspora becomes a catalyst for economic growth, empowering local communities and uplifting the most marginalized. This transformational impact is particularly profound in historical waves of Indian migration, which have widened the demographic composition of the diaspora, offering a life-altering opportunity to those from impoverished and marginalized backgrounds.

India’s services sector, including information technology, business process outsourcing, and pharmaceuticals, has been a key driver of its economic growth. Additionally, India has been working towards economic reforms, improving its infrastructure, and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship to attract investments and boost its competitiveness on the global stage.

The Indian diaspora truly embodies the spirit of giving back and propelling their homeland to greater prosperity.

Chinese communities in the United States have made contributions by establishing small businesses, nurturing trade connections, and stimulating local economies. However, in contrast, the Chinese population in the U.S., which numbers around 5.2 million, has faced challenges due to limited communication skills and relatively weaker proficiency in the English language.

Indian American Global Tech leaders like Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and others started their journey on work visas in the U.S. in the 1990s and have risen to the top owing to their Indian upbringing and ability to adapt to the American Culture. 

There are very few if any recognized Global Tech leaders, politicians, or entrepreneurs in the U.S. that have Chinese ancestry. Back home in China, tech leaders like Jack Ma have been ambushed by the authoritarian Chinese regime.

In October 2020, Ma made a speech that criticized China’s financial regulatory system, which led to increased scrutiny and regulatory actions against Alibaba and its affiliated financial technology company, Ant Group. Following his speech, the planned initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Group, which was expected to be the world’s largest, was suspended by Chinese regulators. 

Additionally, there were reports of increased regulatory scrutiny on Alibaba, leading to investigations into alleged monopolistic practices. In April 2021, the Chinese government imposed a record $2.8 billion fine on Alibaba as a result of an anti-monopoly investigation.

Due to these events and the increased regulatory pressure, Jack Ma reduced his public appearances and stepped down as the executive chairman of Alibaba Group. The crackdown on Ma is a prime example of the threat the Chinese CCP poses to individuals and companies that believe in capitalism and free speech.

Part two of this deep dive into unraveling the remarkable achievements and profound influence of the Indian diaspora can be found on New Thinking tomorrow.

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