Intro: Modi’s visit to Japan “had the right mix of pageantry and purpose and the summit’s deliverables should help bind the two powers together”.
Narendra Modi continues to be in the good books of the English media considering its reaction both to the first hundred days of his government and to his five-day visit to Japan. Said Asian Age (September 3): “The public seems more understanding of Mr Modi than it might have been of any other leader in his place. Relations with Japan where UPA policies were extended seem an impressive success following the Prime Minister’s visit… China remains an enigma.”
The Hindustan Times (September 3) said that “hundred days with this most difficult of jobs Mr Modi has impressed on several counts. He has not fallen victim to the famous pitfalls that the capital lays out for the mighty who have charged in to change its courier culture… Modi has given a fillip to foreign relations. Mr Modi has not shown the tendency to acquire fawning hangers on… The economy and foreign policy are on the right track…”
The Times of India (September 3) said “a hundred days after the Modi government was sworn in the optics are robust and hopeful.” However, said the paper, “massive mandates do give rise to equally soaring expectations.”
The paper said that “a hundred days is an unjustly short time to judge government and Modi carries the burden of almost unrealistic expectations.”
DNA (September 3) said, “The economy is looking up.” There is a turn around in market sentiment. Global investors are finding India interesting and attractive once again. Noted the paper: “The Prime Minister is energetic. Modi understands the rules of the game.”
Deccan Herald (September 6) said Modi’s visit to Japan has brought mixed results. It said: “There is considerable disappointment in India over the much anticipated deal on nuclear energy not materialising.” But, it added: “The range of issues on which the two countries will work together is indeed remarkable and India’s ramshackle infra-structure will surely benefit from infusion of Japanese technology, funding and expertise.” The paper pointed out that Modi got on well with his Japanese counterpart. However, the paper took objection to Modi’s comment on the “expansionist” tendencies of some countries which it thought was “needless” and “could have been avoided”. It was, said the paper, “a tactless remark that reflects short-sighted thinking and poor diplomacy.” “Surely” it added, “India can improve ties with Japan without baiting China?”, said the paper.
The Hindu (September 3) said “ever since India liberalised in the early 1990s there has been a steady interest among Japanese companies and investors, but they have often been frustrated by complicated procedures and cumbersome processes.”
It is said the paper “in this context that Mr Modi’s promise of ‘red carpet, not red tape’ and a special track in the Prime Minister’s office to facilitate Japanese investments have to be seen”. The paper praised Modi for harping on all the right themes including the three D’s that India can boast of, namely, Democracy, Demography and Demand.
The Economic Times (August 6) noted that Prime Minister Modi now wants to replace the ‘Planning Body’ with a ‘Think Tank’ “whose focus primarily would be on policy choices to the exclusion of investment outlays.” The paper said “it reflects the reality of evolution in the Commission’s working. Don’t mourn the Planning Commission, said the paper, because its role had evolved to suggesting policy coherence.”
In an article in Deccan Herald (September 5) Harsh V Pant noted that of all the recent Japanese leaders Shinzo Abe “has been the most enthusiastic about the future of Indo-Japanese relations and gave it an entirely new dimension.” But, said Pant “because of domestic pathologies in both new Delhi and Tokyo, the promise of this partnership has not yet been realised so far.”
The time is right for India and Japan to seize the initiative and transform the strategic landscape in the Asia-Pacific.
(The writer is a senior journalist and former editor of Illustrated Weekly)