History:

GOPIO was formed in 1989 at the conclusion of the five-day First Global Convention of People of
Indian Origin, held in New York from August 27 to Sept. 3, 1989 to bring the overseas Indians (people of
Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) onto a single platform, to monitor and address their
interests and concerns and to network the globally spread Indian community spanning new emigration to
several generations ago. The convention was history making, attracting over 3,000 people, including
representatives of Indian communities from twenty-two countries. The stalwarts of Overseas Indian
community, Dr. Cheddi Jagan (subsequently elected President) of Guyana, Basdeo Panday (subsequently
elected Prime Minister) of Trinidad and Tobago, Mahendra Chaudhry of Fiji (subsequently elected Prime
Minister), Minister Thondaman of Sri Lanka and Minister Madhavrao Scindia of India, India’s ambassador Dr
Karan Singh and several other dignitaries participated in the convention.

The major issue of concern at that time was human rights violations of Indians in Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad,
South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom – and even in the USA where the “Dot Buster” issue was a
major problem. GOPIO filed petitions at the United Nations and made concerted efforts fighting for issues
pertaining to human rights violations. Since then, PIO dominated parties were elected to power in Fiji, Guyana
and Trinidad. Several PIOs have been elected as prime ministers, presidents, ministers and officials at federal
and state levels: In Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, UK, Netherlands, Suriname, Malaysia, South Africa, USA, New
Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Puerto Rico and Canada. GOPIO continues to actively monitor issues of
concern to the overseas Indian community and is the established premiere global advocacy organization of the
Indian diaspora.

Since its inception in 1989, GOPIO has been at the forefront to network the globally spread overseas Indian
community and to advance that objective, GOPIO has been regularly organizing conferences in various parts
of the world. These conferences and conventions help bring the Indian Diaspora closer to mother India and
strengthen the inherent bond between India and its Diaspora. After all, the destiny of India’s Diaspora, in many
ways, is intertwined inextricably with India. GOPIO provides an active and well recognized global advocacy
platform of many chapters and international councils for dialogue and discussion to the worldwide Indian
Diaspora. GOPIO has been fighting for the issues and concerns of the overseas Indians and has been the
primary advocacy organization for the people of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

GOPIO volunteers have visited many countries and convinced like-minded people to take the leadership
challenge by starting GOPIO chapters, by becoming life members and joining GOPIO councils. During their
visit to the Caribbean, GOPIO delegation comprising of Inder Singh and Ashook Ramsaran made special
efforts to meet with heads of state and other high-ranking officials of those countries: In Trinidad, Deputy
Prime Minister Lenny Saith, President Richards Maxwell and Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar (now
prime minister); in Guyana, President Bharat Jagdeo and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; in Suriname, all the
four ministers of Indian origin. The main objective was to promote GOPIO and seek support for GOPIO’s
fight for the rights, issues and concerns of the global Indian community. During the past three years, President
Ashook Ramsaran went to different countries in the Caribbean region and elsewhere globally. His
appointment of suitably qualified international and regional coordinators resulted in a tremendous surge of
new chapters, life members and council members in Africa, Caribbean, Francophone countries, Europe,
Oceania and USA – an expanded GOPIO with new membership, activities and progress at all levels.

Diaspora: An estimated 30 million people of Indian origin (NRIs and PIOs) are living outside India. Many
NRIs/PIOs have numerous achievements in their adopted lands and have contributed significantly to the
countries of their adoption. They have also collectively contributed to India’s transformation into a modern
economy. While PIOs and NRIs are domiciled in other countries, they are bound to India by the umbilical cord
of history, culture, heritage, and tradition and have added a special glitter to the resurgence of India.

Major Accomplishments: GOPIO’s major accomplishments include: Successful Campaign for Establishment of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs; Proposed Dual Citizenship for PIOs; Campaigned for Fiji Human
Rights; Opposed Nomination of Fiji Ambassador to the USA; Sought Uniform Admission Fee for Visiting
Historical Monuments in India; Successful Opposition to Trinity Cross Award in Trinidad and Tobago; Protest
Rally at the United Nations for Rule of Law in Trinidad & Tobago; Led Peace March against Bias Attacks on
Indians in Germany; Collaborated in Successful Campaign for US-India Civil Nuclear Treaty; Campaigned
Voting Rights for NRIs; Proposed Diaspora Courses at Universities in India; Successful Campaign for
Changes in Passport Surrender Rule; Successful Petition Against Retroactive Enforcement of New Visa Rules;
Initiative & Collaboration with Gov’t of India for Kolkata Memorial; Indian Arrival Monuments in Guyana on
its 175th Arrival Day (2013) and in Trinidad & Tobago on its 169th Arrival Day (2014); Initiated Community
Advisory US Tax Rules on Foreign Bank; Initiated Global Gadar Centennial Commemoration for 2013;
Campaigned Successfully for Gadar Events at PBD2013; Prominent commemoration of GOPIO’s 25th Jubilee
Anniversary in Trinidad & Tobago (May 2014).
During the past two years, GOPIO has made significant progress in reaching and connecting various
generations of PIOs in the farthest reaches of the Indian Diaspora to include countries of Africa, Francophone
countries and others. GOPIO’s 25th Anniversary Jubilee Convention was a tremendous success in Port of
Spain, Trinidad & Tobago in May 2014, the first GOPIO major convention held in a PIO country.
GOPIO’s MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
GOPIO’s accomplishments are many and wide ranging. Some noteworthy achievements during the last few
years include the following:
PIO Card, Overseas Indian Citizenship and Ministry for Overseas Indians In the first convention in
1989, a resolution was unanimously approved demanding dual citizenship. The demand has been met with the
grant of PIO/OCI card. GOPIO also championed the effort to establish a separate ministry for overseas Indians
and subsequently the Government of India established the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs (MOIA).
GOPIO was the first to take up these issues of interest to the global Indian community with Government of
India by passing resolutions and relentlessly pursuing with various ministries beginning in 1989.
Dual Citizenship In the first convention in 1989, a resolution was unanimously approved demanding dual
citizenship. The demand has been met with the grant of PIO/OCI card. GOPIO also championed the effort to
establish a separate ministry for overseas Indians and subsequently the Government of India established the
Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs (MOIA). GOPIO was the first to take up these issues of interest to the
global Indian community with Government of India by passing resolutions and relentlessly pursuing with
various ministries beginning in 1989.
Fiji Human Rights Issue In 2000, Fiji’s first ethnic Indian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, was
illegally ousted from power and replaced by indigenous Fijian Laisenia Qarase as the prime minister.
GOPIO internationalized the issue, took up the cause and assured all help to the Indo Fijian activists.
GOPIO delegation met the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the Fiji Issue in July 2000.
GOPIO became the beacon of hope and chief advocacy group for the PIO issues.
GOPIO Opposition to Nomination of Fiji Ambassador to USA In 2004, the Government of Fiji
nominated Mr. Sitiveni Rabuka, a former coup leader who later became Prime Minister, to be Fiji’s
ambassador to the United States. GOPIO appealed to the US President and US Secretary of State for the
rejection of the nomination of Mr. Rabuka who was responsible to overthrow the legitimate government of
Fiji, violated the human rights of the elected officials and ruthlessly destroyed what people of Fiji had worked
so hard to build. That nomination was not accepted and Mr. Rabuka never became ambassador of Fiji to the
United States.
Uniform Admission fee for Historical Monuments The NRI/PIO visitors have been paying higher
admission fee for visiting museums and historical monuments in India. GOPIO has been pursuing with
Government of India (GOI) to charge NRIs/PIOs the same admission fee as charged from local people in
India. In January 2006, GOPIO officials met Minister George Fernandes and Minister Prithviraj Chavan and
argued for the establishment of uniform rate for all. GOPIO achieved the goal as GOI decided in February
2006 to charge a uniform admission fee from all visitors, be they Indians, NRIs or foreigners.