The style and speed of Prime Minister Modi engagements and the response he received from global platforms has been amazing that made his detractors and the so-called diplomatic wizards envious
Since time immemorial our ancient nation had many illustrious rulers. We fondly remember some of them as ideals and able administrators. Not only that we also regard them as embodiment of highest human values. The term ‘Rajarshi’ embodies the qualities of an ideal ruler, which means the one who lives like a Rishi and discharge his duties as a Ruler guided by the principle of welfare of not only human beings but every living being. They were the wizards of statecraft and wise men of highest order. Therefore the stories of such men passed down from one generation to another and still inspire us even though their time seized thousands of years back.
Bharatvarsh as we call our motherland is still not short of such talent and human excellence. The deeds of Shri Narendra Modi after being elevated to the post of Indian Prime Ministership, indicate that this land of valiant administrators is no dearth of talent. As many authors in the book titled “The Modi Doctrine: New Paradigms in India’s Foreign Policy” have pointed out his inauguration in the office itself has proved his statesmanship and become a remarkable event in the recent history of India. Immediately after assuming office he undertook a number of foreign engagements and infused a sense of reality and vitality to Indian foreign policy. The style and speed of his engagements and the response he received from global platforms was amazing. Probably that made his detractors and the so-called diplomatic wizards envious. Unlike some of his predecessors he is not a dogmatic but a pragmatic. This sensible pragmatic approach only gives him an edge in the diplomatic game tables. Off course his out of box, innovative ways of conducting diplomacy have also played a pivotal role in boosting his image in international arena.
There was a lot of outcry in India over PM Modi’s alleged unnecessary travels abroad. Most of them were politically motivated. His opponents refused to recognise the takeaways. They were not even willing to appreciate his path breaking efforts. The book titled ‘The Modi Doctrine’ is highly informative in this context. Here, writers of different nationalities hail his diplomatic adventures in their articles incorporated in this book. The book says: His visits to some countries were first of its kind by an Indian PM in decades. Further, to one strategically important country his visit was for the first time by an Indian PM. Some of the contributors in the book talk about a visible shift in Indian foreign policy after Modi asumed the office of PM. According to them, he started leveraging the soft power to gain diplomatic dividend. Further they say, PM Modi walked an extra mile and involved Indian diaspora in his engagement with various countries. Till then it was an untapped potential. Even more, according to a contributor in Nehru’s foreign policy ‘The use of this potential was forbidden. We must remember that countries like Israel effectively used Jewish diaspora in Europe and US to leverage their diplomatic engagements and also to counter anti Israel moves of its neighbors. The Jewish Caucus in the US is an example. According to some contributors of this book Modi’s engagement with Indian diaspora abroad certainly benefitted his foreign policy. In fact his engagements have more relevance, since the influence of Indian diaspora is growing in many influential countries. Perhaps, one will get a feel of this growing influence from British elections, there candidates like Cameron tried to win Indian voters, he even used ‘Abki Bar Cameron’ slogan in his campaigns, a changed version of Modi’s poll slogan.
Modi’s use of cultural symbols in a subtle way to leverage India’s interests in foreign engagements is a remarkable one. As an ancient nation India has cultural link with many countries across the continent. The legacy of our long cultural exchange with such countries would give us a unique advantage as far as our diplomatic engagements are concerned. By harnessing her deep cultural roots in our region India can become a powerhouse in Asia. According to some contributors Modi realised this factor and used it as a powerful tool in his engagements. Hari Bansh Jha a contributor thinks that Modi’s suggestion in UNGA to felicitate international ‘Yoga Day’ was an important step in this regard and use of our soft power is concerned. In UNGA, member countries with overwhelming support accepted the suggestion and celebrated across the globe. This inarguably proves the power of some of the cultural symbols India has.
According to Ramesh Thakur, a contributor, Narendra Modi is the most internationalist PM since Jawaharlal Nehru and also more clear-eyed and hard-headed than Nehru in his
definition of country’s interests. Many people see Prime Minister Modi as honest and direct. And people have faith in his ability to deliver not only in India but even abroad and appreciate it. One foreign contributor therefore writes that we believe Modi, even though we don’t have any high regard for Indian bureaucratic system or its other agencies.
The initiative of the editors of the book is commendable, particularly in the context of raging criticism from some corners regarding Modi’s foreign policy initiatives. This comprehensive compendium will definitely throw some light on the paradigm shift
having taken place in Indian foreign policy. Perhaps it would become more interesting if we read the book in the environment of India’s recent
diplomatic masterstrokes which
isolated Pakistan in international arena over its terror links.
(The writer is Delhi based Social Activist)