During the TAKEPRIDE 2023 summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Chennai, Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar addressed the multifaceted challenges associated with the contentious issue of granting dual citizenship.
Minister Jaishankar emphasized that extending dual citizenship to Indians residing abroad poses significant economic and security challenges. Despite ongoing debates, he acknowledged the importance of addressing this complex issue that has garnered considerable attention.
One notable initiative highlighted by Jaishankar during his address was the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) campaign. This program is designed to meet the demand for dual citizenship among individuals with Indian roots residing in countries other than Pakistan and Bangladesh. The OCI initiative grants cardholders multiple-entry lifelong visas for India and certain rights similar to those of Indian citizens. However, limitations exist, as OCI cardholders do not possess the right to vote in Indian elections or run for legal or constitutional offices in the country.
Understanding Dual or Multiple Citizenship:
Dual or multiple citizenship is a legal status granted to individuals holding citizenship in two or more countries simultaneously. This status affords individuals the privilege to participate in the political affairs of both countries, obtain visa exemptions for travel, and engage in employment in either nation. Certain countries, including the United States, Finland, Albania, Israel, and Pakistan, allow dual citizenship with specific legal provisions ensuring the retention of dual nationality.
Dual Citizenship in India:
India’s constitution presently prohibits its citizens from holding citizenship in another country simultaneously. However, the Indian government operates the OCI program primarily for Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), excluding those in Pakistan and Bangladesh. While OCI cardholders enjoy the benefits of multiple-entry lifelong visas and certain privileges in India, they are devoid of the right to vote or contest elections in the country.
It is crucial to note that OCI cardholders lack voting rights and cannot run for legal or constitutional offices in India.
In conclusion, the discourse on dual citizenship in India continues to evolve, with challenges spanning economic and security domains. The OCI initiative addresses certain aspects of this demand, but the ongoing debate underscores the intricate nature of citizenship policies in an increasingly globalized world. The TAKEPRIDE 2023 summit served as a platform to shed light on these complexities and discuss potential pathways for the future.