Some migrants from British India arrived to work in mining, railroads, and agriculture in the early 20th century, usually under British-owned corporations. However most Indians in Chile are new arrivals in the 1980s as Chilean military advisors for the Pinochet regime during the Cold War and the 1990s for economic reasons. Today, about 1,500 Indians live in Chile, mostly in Santiago.
The first immigrants from India arrived to Magallanes (present-day Punta Arenas) in 1904 and worked as traders. Their descendants moved to different parts of the country, though mostly to Santiago. Descendants of Indian migrants to Chile also live on the northern coast (i.e. Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta). A second large wave of Indian immigration occurred in the 1980s. These are the people who set up the Indian Association of Santiago.
There are 90 families which amount to 400 people in Santiago alone. Nationally, there are about 1500 people of Indian origin living in the country. There are also many Chileans who are interested in Indian culture.