How stronger has India become in world politics under Narendra Modi? by SIDDHARTH SINHA
Answer by SIDDHARTH SINHA:
Before I answer this question, an important bit of information must be shared here to justify my answer:
In 1998, when the US was fighting the Gulf war, there was a legislation passed by the US Senate of which not many people knew about, and many still don’t know about it. This law passed to counter the criticism that it, the US, was waging war on Islamic countries. This piece of legislation allowed US State Department to impose visa restrictions on people responsible for "severe violations of religious freedom". After the Gujarat riots one of the most appalling incidents happened in Indian political history. When Narendra Modi was scheduled to deliver a speech at ‘Madison Square Garden’ in 2005 to Indian-Americans, some MPs of the Congress and allied parties ‘actually’ wrote to the US Government requesting it to deny visa to Modi. Until then, the stated US legislation was just a piece of legislation which was never used. The US State Department invoked it to deny visa to Mr. Modi (and to this date he remains the ‘only one’ man who has been denied visa. With over 35 countries which have serious human rights records on ‘religious freedom’ have ever been deny visa on this ground).
Now to answer the question: let me start with United States -Cut to 2014. BJP under Narendra Modi wins a landslide victory, and emerges as the party which would form a Government at the centre without any coalition. Among the first congratulatory calls to Modi was from the US President, Barack Obama. He invites Modi to the US. That very same year Narendra Modi visits the US, makes a speech at the United Nations where he urges the world community to adopt a day in a year as ‘Yoga Day’. It is adopted by the UN members and world got a Yoga Day. This was ‘soft diplomacy’, and it turned out to be his first major victories in International diplomacy.
Two days later it is the day of reckoning when PM Modi addresses a gathering of Indian-Americans at the Madison Square Garden (where he was denied nine years earlier), which was packed, and the supporters who could not enter MSG, for them it was beamed ‘live’ at New York’s Times Square. To add to this, there were 47 US Senators and Congressmen who were present at the MSG. This was termed as a ‘Rockstar Treatment’. This was not just a show of popularity, it was also a show of exemplary statesmanship by our PM. This was further endorsed when Hillary Clinton, in an interview admitted that not issuing a visa to Modi ‘was a mistake’. The following year, Obama and Mrs. Clinton came to India on a formal visit and the Indo-US relations reached new heights. With military and strategic partnership and economic alliance, the two countries are going to have more mutually beneficial engagements than at any time earlier. In a later development, US & India signed an agreement whereby both countries will be able to use each other’s military and naval bases. This is a coup of sorts – stressing India’s might, and Modi’s diplomacy.
In his next visit to the US, PM Modi addressed a Joint Meeting of the US Congress, and gets 27 standing ovations in his 52 minute speech. Remarkable, isn’t it? I think he was the first Indian Premier to do so.
In 2017 PM Modi is scheduled to visit the US later this year on invitation by the new US President Donald Trump.
After PM Modi returned from US, the Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in India on an official visit, and signs various pacts, including sales of a dozen nuclear power plants to India and joint ventures in various fields, including purchase of Oil companies by Indians, and exports of diamonds and precious stones from Russia and reexport of finished product to Russia. This was an unparalleled achievement because Russia and US were at loggerheads on issues of Ukraine and Crimea etc., To have the two countries working with India is nothing short of ‘amazing’.
Then came the topping – A week after Putin departed, the Crimean Head of State arrives in New Delhi, and signs numerous pacts and agreements. This is nothing short of miracle because even Russians (who are fighting a war with Crimea did not utter a word of protest or dis-satisfaction over this trip). Considering that the trips by Russian Putin and Crimean Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov was just a week apart, says something about Modi’s and India’s diplomacy.
Then, PM Modi travels to Bangladesh – Here is another feather in Modi’s cap. He settles the border dispute with Bangladesh, and makes way for the ‘people with no country’ to decide which country they wish to be part of. India had to give away a bigger part of land mass than it gained (about 300 sq. kms less) but the people who had no country they could call their own since 1971, now had a choice.
Then, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping arrives in India and on Modi’s birthday, accompanies Modi to Gujarat. Later, the two sign numerous agreements and investment pacts. China signs agreements (not MOUs) with minimum investment of US$ 25 billion in that particular trip. The other bold statement made by Xi Jinping was that India and China will ‘manage’ their border dispute, and not let it go out of hand. This was truly ‘remarkable’ coming from a Chinese Head of State.
Australia – PM Modi attends the G-20 summit. Later, he addresses the joint houses of Australian Parliament. During this visit, he signed major agreements, including supply of Uranium to India. Before returning to India, PM Modi was to address the Indian expatriate community at the Allphones Arena. The response was so overwhelming, the Australian Railway had to arrange special trains called ‘Modi Express’, which was used by the community to travel from as far as a thousand kilometers.
Canada – In April, 2015 Modi visited Canada and the high point was the agreement where Canada would be India’s special trading partner, and it would supply Uranium for India’s power plants. It is considered as one of the most successful trips. And when Modi addressed the Indian diaspora, he was lapped up by the media.
United Kingdom – This was another hugely successful trip which firmly established India on the world stage. Whether it was PM Modi’s address to the India diaspora at the Wembley Stadium, or his speech addressing the British Parliament, or the highly appreciated speech to Business leaders, it was an act of a World leader, a statesman.and The joint statement by PM Modi and British PM David Cameron declared India and Britain as Global Partners in many areas.
Similar success stories came out of Modi’s trips to Germany and France.In fact, when Modi was in Australia, attending the G20 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited PM Modi for the second time when the latter confirmed his tour.
These were some of the success stories. Now let me come to the Geographical region where his successes are ‘unparalleled’, not by Modi alone but ‘ever’.
Yemen Crises – When the crisis began, Indian Government negotiated with the Saudi backed army and militia, and Iran backed Houthi rebels to cease fire for few hours to enable India to evacuate Indians trapped in Yemen. Negotiations were so successful that India not just evacuated all Indians who wanted to leave, many foreign powers including US, British and Italians among 35 countries asked India to evacuate their citizens. It was peacefully carried out by the Indian Air Force and Air India under ‘Operation Raahat’. This was another feather in Modi’s cap, because he had deputed, Deputy Foreign Minister, Gen. V. K. Singh to be stationed in Djibouti till the operation was complete. V. K. Singh also dared to fly into the war-zone to assist in evacuations.
The new Afghan Parliament
Afghanistan – PM Modi has visited Afghanistan twice and two projects worth their weight in any way must be mentioned here, were inaugurated, and gifted to the people of Afghanistan – Salma Dam (which has been renamed ‘The Indo-Afghan Friendship Dam’, which will also produce about 40 MW of electricity in the region of Herat, and The new Afghan Parliament building, designed, funded and built by India and Indians (this project was started by the Congress Government). Narendra Modi was voted as second most popular man in Afghanistan. PM Modi was also conferred the highest Afghan civilian award – The Amir Amanullah Khan Award.
Saudi Arabia – What were the takeaways from Narendra Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia is secondary to the honor he received – The highest civilian honor, the Abdulaziz Al Saud Award. The PM also visited (an exception was made) TCS IT centre, an all women’s office, and amazingly, the staff there also clicked selfies amidst loud chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ (Hail Mother India). If this isn’t unprecedented and stunning then nothing will surprise us because we are discussing Saudi Arabia here. Another remarkable exceptional agreement was the assistance to Indian workers trapped Saudi Arabia. In these cases, the Saudi Government immediately provided relief to these Indian expatriates working in Saudi Arabia, and allowed Indian missions to assist their citizens (for this, Saudi Arabia had to bend a few rules).
The Saudis Government has invited more qualified workers from India while it has deported over 300,000 Pakistani workers in last four months. That is a coup!
Modi addressing India expatriates at a cricket Stadium in UAE. This was unprecedented.
U. A. E. – This trip can be called the rarest among all for its resounding achievements. First, the UAE endorsed India’s ‘Permanent Membership’ at the UNSC. Similar statements have come from Heads of State of US, Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea etc., The second achievement – UAE signed pacts which will bring an investment of US$ 75 billion into India. The third was a joint declaration to fight terrorism and states that sponsor terror (Pakistan was not mentioned but it was clearly implied). The fourth was UAE’s permission to PM Modi to address an audience of over 50,000 Indian expatriates at a Cricket Stadium. Those who couldn’t get in, watched Modi’s speech on a huge screen outside the stadium. Modi is the only Head of state to ever be able to do that. And finally, a ‘MIRACLE’. Considering UAE is a Muslim country, it gave permission for a Hindu Temple to be constructed in Abu Dhabi, and also allocated land for the same. This is the biggest of all successes in diplomacy.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Al Nahyan was the Chief guest on India’s Republic Day in 2017, and a UAE Regiment also participated in the Republic Day parade.
There are other major successes with Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Nepal and Bhutan which have put Modi, and more so, India very firmly on the world map, eg. Qatar has invited Indians to work and assist them host the Soccer World Cup on 2022.
What is amazing is that Narendra Damodardas Modi has been able to achieve all this in less than three years in office. It is phenomenal. That is Modi Magic!
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