Overseas Indians in Australia seek dual citizenship
Melbourne: Coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Australia visit, the Indian community here has launched an online campaign, appealing to him to grant dual citizenship to overseas Indians.
"It's time that Indian government grants NRIs dual citizenship," the campaign's spokesperson and President of Indian Australian Association of New South Wales Yadu Singh said.
He claimed that the campaign which had just started in Australia was already gaining traction in the Indian community.
"It is gaining momentum and it will get enthusiastic support from Indian diaspora all over the world, particularly United States of America, Canada, the UK and Australia. It will continue to be run until India sees merits in granting dual citizenship," Singh said.
"There are an estimated 25 million non-resident Indians (NRIs), people of Indian origin (PIOs) and overseas citizens of India (OCIs) spread across more than 200 countries. Cumulatively, they contributed about USD 70 billion in remittances to India in 2013-14," Singh said.
"The recent changes in the PIO and OCI cards announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi are welcome, but they do not meet the long-term demand of dual citizenship by overseas Indians," he said, adding that "the overseas citizenship card (OCC) falls well short of genuine dual citizenship."
Singh said almost over 900 people have already signed the online petition and shown their support for the campaign.
He recalled that the promise of dual citizenship was made by the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003 and since then there have been statements from senior politicians about them favouring dual citizenship.
The petition has also sought granting Indian passports to overseas citizens of Indian heritage with full political and economic rights, granting of convenient voting rights to such dual passport-holding overseas Indians as well as overseas Indians with Indian passports (NRIs), which can be exercised either at the consulate, high commission or embassy premises in their country of residence and through postal or online facilities.