India’s new diaspora policy, emerging in the early 2000s, exemplified the larger process through which states reach out to their non-resident citizens and former citizens for various objectives – political, economic and cultural. Focusing not only on their expatriate citizens, but also on former nationals and people who have ethnic origins or have maintained a cultural connection with their former homeland, these states nationalised diasporas by incorporating them into their increasingly deterritorialised nations. In particular, they did so by adopting ‘diaspora policies’, i.e. a public strategy, armed with specific mechanisms, which empowered governments to reach out, target and incorporate extra-territorial populations for a specific purpose. While the nature, scope, and intensity of these policies might vary from country to country, they all aspired to demarcate and designate their overseas population, as well as to reach out and incorporate them in economic, cultural, or political terms. In the broad definition by legal scholar Laurie Brand, this process included:

Policies and practices of the home state in any arena – legal, political, economic, cultural, religious – that deliberately affect[ed] or target[ed] some aspect of its expatriates’ lives. This should also be construed as policies potentially affecting dual citizens, former nationals, and even those of the second or third generation who are [were] not citizens, but remain[ed] of interest to the country of origin.