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About Indian Diaspora

Overseas Indians, officially known as non-resident Indians (NRIs) or persons of Indian origin (PIOs), are people of Indian birth, descent or origin who live outside the Republic of India. According to a Ministry of External Affairs report, there are 36 million NRIs and PIOs residing outside India. Individuals of Indian origin have achieved a high demographic profile in metropolitan areas worldwide, including India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, home to the highest concentration of Asian Indians in the Western Hemisphere and one of at least 24 enclaves characterized as a Little India that have emerged within the New York City Metropolitan Area, with the largest metropolitan Indian population outside Asia, as large-scale immigration from India continues into New York. The emigration from India has been continuing for thousands of years for business, work, and the spread of culture.

There had been numerous cases of Indians becoming victims in regional or other conflicts. The Diaspora connections have been revived and formalized in the past two centuries with improvements in transportation and communication. During the mid-19th century until the end of World War I, much of the migration that occurred was of pioneering Girmitya indentured workers – from current day Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Odisha etc who were British colonies under the Indian indenture system. The major destinations were Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, other parts of the Caribbean (e.g. Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Belize, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia), Fiji, Réunion, Seychelles, Malay Peninsula (e.g. Malaysia and Singapore), East Africa (e.g. Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda) and South Africa.

Gujarati and Sindhi merchants and traders settled in the Arabian Peninsula, Aden, Oman, Bahrain, Dubai, South Africa, and East African countries, most of which were ruled by the British. The Indian Rupee was the legal currency in many countries of the Arabian peninsula. Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sindhi, Baloch, and Kashmiri Camel drivers were brought to Australia. The emigration continued after independence in a changed format with both skilled and skilled workers and professionals migrating outward. Currently, Indian origin people are playing important role in politics, business, knowledge and social development in many of the countries.