Li Xing

World will hear more from Indians

By Li Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-25 07:50
Large Medium Small

Toronto - My colleague and I flew from New York to Toronto on Tuesday afternoon.

As we made our way through the airport, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by Indians waiting to collect their luggage.

To be exact, there were nearly 100 Indian families - husbands, wives, the elderly and children - who had just arrived in Canada's largest city after taking the long flight across the Pacific. Their luggage carts were piled high with suitcases. A few even cut us off in their hurry to get to the customs area.

After clearing customs, we found another large throng of Indians waiting to greet the new arrivals. Outside the airport more Indians driving taxis, many of them Sikhs with turbans.

This was not the first time I have noticed the large number of Indians in North America. During a short visit to Stanford University last summer, I met quite a number of Indian families with their teenage children, who were apparently preparing to enter the prestigious university in the fall.

I was surprised, because I do not remember seeing that many Indians when I studied at Stanford between 1985 and 1986. In fact, I don't remember meeting a lot of Indians during my overseas travels until a few years ago.

On the way to our hotel, our taxi driver - a Pakistani - told us that the Indian community has become the second largest in the greater Toronto area, second only to the Chinese.

According to the Toronto city government, South Asians account for 12 percent of the city's population; Chinese come in second, at 11.4 percent.

Indians have a long history of emigration. There is a large community in the United Kingdom, as well as in Southeast Asia and Africa. I visited four African countries in February last year and discovered that Indians have long controlled the banking, media and other major businesses there.

In China, we've also seen growing communities of Indian business people and professionals in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are quite a number of Indian students in medium-sized cities like Zhengzhou in Henan province. A number of my colleagues at China Daily are Indians, and we seem to have a lot in common.

But the number of globe-trotting Indians these days is just amazing. Like all nationalities, they have noticeable characteristics. Some of them speak loudly, and they seem to like to jump the queues. But the most noticeable characteristic is their confidence; they seem to be more self-assured than other Asians, particularly Chinese.

I've noticed that Indian scholars are particularly adept at expressing their views and putting forth their ideas. A friend of mine who has attended a lot of international scientific conferences tells me that a moderator has nothing to fear if there are participants from India a lively discussion is assured.

No wonder, over the past few years, I've seen more and more Indian names in the list of leading academics at universities in English-speaking countries.

According to a recent global opinion survey by the Pew Research Center, 66 percent of Indians have positive views about the US, but their support for US-led anti-terrorist campaigns in South and Central Asia is slowly declining.

Most Indians have a positive view of their own government and its handling of the global economic crisis. However, only 11 percent of Indians surveyed regarded China as a world economic leader.

Whatever their views, the world is bound to see and hear more from Indians. As they become more prominent on the world stage, they will become more vocal and resolute on global issues and their views are certain to become more important.


(China Daily 06/25/2010 page8)