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Dual citizenship for 7 countries including NZ

Dual citizenship for 7 countries including New Zealand

By Rohit Kumar 'Happy' Editor, Bharat-Darshan, New Zealand

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made the announcement of giving dual citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) at the opening of the first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Indian Migrant's Day) earlier in the day on January 9th 2003.

"Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) living in seven countries including New Zealand, U S, U K, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia would be given dual citizenship but those residing in SAARC and Gulf nations would not have this privilege." stating this, Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry of India Mr J C Sharma today said a number of factors were considered while taking a decision on the matter.

"For now, dual citizenship will be granted to PIOs living in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia", Sharma told to a press conference.

To a question, he said the facility will not be applicable to PIOs living in SAARC countries.

With regard to PIOs living in Gulf countries, Sharma said they do not need the facility as they are Indian citizens only and have not been granted citizenship of the respective nations.

On the selection of countries, he said factors like whether a particular nation accepts the concept of dual citizenship and whether a demand has come from that nation were taken into consideration while taking the decision.

L M Singhvi, who headed a high-level committee which gave its recommendations on dual citizenship, said wide-ranging consultations were held with all nations concerned.

He said dual citizenship would "connect" the PIOs with their motherland in a better way besides easing procedures for them and they would enjoy certain facilities, except right to take up civil employment or get elected.

The government has no plan at present to extend the dual citizenship to People of Indian Origin (PIOs) in countries beyond the identified seven countries, Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said today.

"At present there is no plan to extend the dual citizenship to more countries. It was not an easy decision to give dual citizenship to PIO's in certain countries due to various complications- legal and security. It is a big step," he said when asked if dual citizenship would be extended to PIOs other than those living in the seven countries.


Rohit Kumar 'Happy'
Editor, Bharat-Darshan

E-mail: mailto:editor@bharatdarshan.co.nz

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