Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration From India

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Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration from India
By Devesh Kapur
Princeton University Press, 2010
344 pp. $35.00
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At the beginning of this century, an estimated 175 million people, nearly three percent of the world's population, lived outside their countries of birth, and this number has grown every year. This richly detailed study of Indian emigration reveals how this movement of people affects the countries left behind, with a special focus on the diverse impacts of the Indian diaspora -- an estimated 20 million people -- on the politics, economics, social attitudes, foreign policy, and modernization of India. The rapid growth of remittances from Indian emigrants now exceeds official foreign assistance to the country. But Indian emigrants also send (through letters) or bring (through visits) new attitudes and new ideas based on their international exposure. Some provide overseas anchors for Indian exports or investments; others return to start businesses in India, drawing not only on their experience abroad but at least as much on the self-confidence they have gained through success. Another benefit: emigration by Indian elites, the author argues, helps stabilize India's democracy by giving the disgruntled the option of exit.