Overseas Indians need genuine dual- citizenship!

With my informal discussion and interactions with Indians living overseas, it is clear to me that they want a genuine dual citizenship. Anything less is not going to satisfy their demands.

I know Indian Govt is working on a Bill, which will be introduced in Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) soon, after having already been passed by Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament), to replace PIO and OCI cards with a single card, named “Overseas Indian Card”. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinions/30048500.cms

My suggestion is that they should stop this process, and let the new Govt, after soon to be held Lok Sabha election, have a fresh look at this matter.

Just in case you have some confusion as to who is NRI (Non-Resident Indian), PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI Overseas Citizen of Indian) is, please see the link below. http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf

I can see that replacing PIO and OCI cards with a single “Overseas Indian Card” may be a good idea, provided,

1. Govt does not impose any cost to those with these cards while replacing current OCI/PIO cards with “Overseas Indian Card”,
2. the process to replace PIO/OCI cards with Overseas Indian Cards is simple, automatic and not cumbersome,
3. the new card is valid for life Long,
4. A fee for Overseas Indian Card is reasonable, not expensive.

But I do not believe it is enough. It’s no point to make a half-hearted effort!

What Overseas Indians need is a genuine dual citizenship of India, with full political and economic rights. India’s reluctance to offer Overseas Indians a true “Dual Citizenship” is difficult to understand.

India keeps forgetting that overseas Indians are no less patriotic than Indians living in India,

Overseas Indians, whether they hold Indian Passports or have Overseas Passports, love India. They have an emotional bond with India. This is true for a great majority of people with Indian heritage.

If India is really serious in looking after Overseas Indians, and wishes to tap into this network for variety of purposes, it should consider;

a. Giving Indian passports (Dual citizenship) to overseas Citizens of Indian heritage with full rights including political rights,
b. giving convenient voting rights to such dual passport holders as well as Indian passport holders (NRIs), which can be exercised either at the Consulate, High Commission or Embassy premises in their country of residence or through postal or Online facilities. Postal Voting rights, after all, are allowed for India’s diplomatic staff, serving outside India.

In regards to NRIs (Indians living overseas but holding Indian passports), I am aware that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is in favor of granting convenient voting rights to them via postal, online or voting at the Consulate/Embassies/High Commissions, and has already submitted a memorandum to Election Commission of India in January 2014. http://tinyurl.com/mz7ap46

Indian passportThis is a good beginning, but this too is not sufficient. BJP needs to move towards agreeing to support genuine dual citizenship for overseas Indians. BJP should take this matter with full force and sincerity.

Many countries allow dual-citizenships. India will not be the only one. This link http://www.dlgimmigration.com/united-states-citizenship/list-of-countries-that-allow-or-disallow-dual-citizenship/ will tell you which country allows dual-citizenship, and which doesn’t. Many of the developed countries like UK, Australia, USA, Switzerland, Finland and France see no issue in dual-citizenship, and these countries are no less security-conscious, if that was the reason why India is reluctant to offer dual-citizenship.

Nobody can argue against India’ right to reject applications for Indian Passports (dual-citizenship) to Overseas citizens of Indian heritage if they have security issues or are associated with terrorist/separatist anti-India groups. Nobody can deny this right to India, but why to deny dual-citizenship to huge majority of patriotic Indians living overseas, just because a small minority of overseas Indians involve themselves in anti-India activities or terrorism.

Making things simpler for Indians living overseas will be a smart move. Currently, NRIs must register their names in the voter lists at their place of residence in India, before they left India, and be physically present there to vote, which is practically very inconvenient, and financially prohibitive.

Indian constitution allows NRIs to vote in theory, but Govt has not done anything to make it convenient for >10 million (>1 crore) NRIs, despite its lofty claims!

I do not know how many PIOs/OCIs are there in the world, but it will be safe to assume there will be at least 10 million PIOs/OCIs.

Looking after 20 million overseas Indians (NRIs, PIOs and OCIs), with decent, practical and helpful policies, will be a smart thing for India!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/4th March, 2014

22 thoughts on “Overseas Indians need genuine dual- citizenship!

  1. It is very good idea. Please put pressure on BJP to get dual Nationality. We love our Mother India irrespective of any foreign passport we hold.


  2. Dear Dr Yadu Singh,
    I have read your view points and fully agreed with you.
    During the last two years I was trying to establish my business in India in media broadcasting but had lots of problems to satisfy the local authorities in India. My request is
    still in pipeline but do not think it will get through.
    I fully support your efforts to convince the newly elected governament of India to consider dual citizenship for Indians living abroad.
    Yours Sincerely
    Surinder Singh Manku. JP.
    Mobile:0422 240 128


  3. we should make ready a memorandum signed by indians in australia to submit to prime minister and foreign minister sushma swaraj,and try to meet them in person to take things rapidly to make indo Aus agreement of Citizenship legislation, like Bangladesh does, Egypt also allows dual citizenship, so we should notify all these things.


  4. Nice article, seems the BJP government in 2011 did promise to bring in dual citizenship if comes in power here in UK, once of Visa Forms approached BJP and Nitin Gadkari seems to have spoken in favor is same, I have just recently again written to HSMP forum to take this forward. It’s a shame we don’t have that in place being one of the emerging countries in the world.
    Link to BJP letter on favor of dual citizenship -> http://www.hsmpforumltd.com/pr240711.html


  5. I will be indebted to this current government if they pass this legislation to allow dual nationality… at present every overseas indian citizens facing lot of problems with visas/cards etc., and feeling like being deprived of rights from motherland… I agree with you Mr. Yadu Singh..


  6. Modi into Power, i am expected to get my Australian Citizenship by 2016 June. I am still continuing with permanent residency until then because i expect BJP will Grant Dual passport and Dual citizenship,Permanent Residents of Australia, Canada, and Denmark (EU passport Holders) should give Mass memorandum to Prime minister Narendra Modiji ( To be sworn in on wednesday) pointing out the fact that asian countries like Cambodia and Middle eastern countries like Egypt allow Dual passports.I expect the change by this year or next year, and issue of OCI card should stop and Indian passports should be held along with Australian Passport. Atleast BJP Government can have a look at Dual citizenship and Allowing Dual passport with Australia, Canada and Denmark. waterman909@gmail.com


  7. Well, hopefully BJP will allow dual-citizenship. I am in the UK with my family for the past 7years but I am a bit reluctant to give up my Indian citizenship simply because India is my country regardless of where I live. I have emotional bonding with India and not willing to loose it, it is the case with my of my friends living in other countries.

    It will be very helpful if BJP allows this. Is there any forum we can record this ask legally?


  8. Will BJP take this issue seriously. Does anybody know whether they have mentioned anything on this
    in the poll manifesto. Please advise


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