The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Its imminent impact on India and its Diaspora
The Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC) held its 95th weekly ICC ZOOM Public Meeting last March 27, 2022. The topic was “The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Its Imminent Impact on India and its Diaspora”
The speakers were
● DR. A. ADITYANJEE (USA/India) – President of the Council for Strategic Affairs, & International Commission for Human Rights and Religious Freedom; physician & psychiatrist
● CLIFF RAJKUMAR (Canada/Guyana) – Former Senior VP and Director of Deutsche Bank Financial Services Division, and Senior VP of GE Capital, Int’l Financial Services Division; and
● ANGELIC ALIHUSAIN-DEL CASTILHO (Suriname) – Former Ambassador to Indonesia; Chair of the Democratic Alternative91 political party; author & women’s political activist.
This is the context which framed the discussions – Peace in post-WWII Europe was disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. In the space of four weeks, about 2.2 million Ukrainians have fled to nearby Poland seeking refuge from the chaos and devastation caused by the Russian offensive.
Years ago, India became a home for thousands of Polish refugees. Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 triggered WW11, and thousands of Poles were displaced as a result. After enduring terrible hardship in Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union, they made their way, first to the Middle East, and then onward to Africa and Asia. Some were placed on board a ship that had been denied entry by several countries. India, then resisting being transformed from a land of princely states to a single nation under British rule, accepted a large number of them. Of these, about 560 Polish orphans, after spending three months in Bombay, were transported by train to Jamnagar, Gujarat, where the Maharaja of Nawanagar, Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji, adopted all of them, built schools to educate them, and housed them in settlements at the site of his summer palace in Balachadi.
The refusal of the current Government of India to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been heavily criticised. Given the tough trade sanctions imposed on Russia by the USA and other nations, India is seeking opportunities for growth, and there are plans to increase exports to Russia beyond the Indian agricultural and pharmaceutical products that are already sold on the Russian market. Noting that the US is India’s largest export market, but Russia is the source of India’s military equipment, fertilizer and some precious metals, what impact will these have on the Indian economy, and by extension, people in the Indian Diaspora?
Before the presentations and discussions started, this short 4-minute video was screened. It was produced by News Room and featured Shawn Parasram of Ukraine, formerly of Enmore, East Coast Demerara, in Guyana. SEE VIDEO of him narrating his story of how has been stuck at sea as a crewman on a cruise ship in the Bahamas while his family in Odessa has been caught in the middle of the crossfire. Please touch or click on link to SEE VIDEO
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