Growing Indian Diaspora Offers Huge Possibilities for Australia

October 16, 2013

Growing Indian Diaspora Offers Huge Possibilities for Australia

With over 30,000 Indians arriving in Australia in 2010-11, India has surpassed Britain and China as the largest source of migrants to Australia. This demographic shift in migration trend holds immense possibilities for Australia. Not only will the growing number of Australian-Indians help build strong linkages with India; they will also enable Australia to build strong connections with rich and influential Indian communities living in other countries.

Indians in Australia, qualified and increasingly influential

A recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) says that the number of Indian-born Australians has trebled over the past decade. More than 400,000 Australians today, identify themselves as having an Indian origin. Of these, more than 100,000 Australian speak the India's national language, Hindi, at home, and Hinduism, is today, Australia's fastest growing religion.

The report finds that among the various migrant populations, Indians form the most skilled, successful and middle class migrant group in Australia. Over three quarters of Indians who arrived in Australia in the past two decades came under the skilled migration program.

A large number of them have post-graduate qualification. Similarly, a vast majority of these migrants from Indian possess good English-language skills which help them survive in a new country.

Indians could help build strong global linkages

With Indians becoming more visible in Australia over the past decade, involving themselves in business, politics and social affairs, experts believe that, similar to the Indian Diasporas in U.S., UK, Africa and south-east Asia; Indian-Australians will increasingly begin to play a more influential role in the country’s affairs.

This demographic shift in migration trends can help Australia to build strong linkages, not only with India, but also with rich and influential Indian communities in living in other countries.

Rory Medcalf, former Australian diplomat to India and currently Lowy Institute analyst, quoted in the SMH report is one of the experts who holds this view. He feels that Indian-Australians will play an important role in strengthening bilateral ties between Australia and India.

This emergence of the Indian lobby in Australia will have a wide-ranging impact on future policy choices for the Australian political class, particularly with regard to its bilateral relations with India. Mr Medcalf finds this development akin to the growing influence of Indian lobbies in U.S. and UK. 

"There's no doubt that Indian attitudes to Australia will keep warming as these human connections grow and the presence in Australia of many Indian success stories will help raise awareness in India of all the things Australia has to offer," Mr Medcalf is quoted as saying.

Indicating the Indian Diaspora's growing influence: "The growth in the Indian community is likely to lead to the creation of an Indian lobby in Australian politics. We'll increasingly see Australian politicians take account of Indian community views for electoral reasons. There's anecdotal evidence this is already happening," he says.

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