Saturday, August 22, 2015


Modi travels abroad for India, not personal vacation

The PM should be praised for raising the country's international image, not criticised.

 |  3-minute read |   20-08-2015
Dr David Frawley
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There is an unprecedented and palpable new interest and enthusiasm about India in the world today. People are waking up to India and its importance, not only relative to the global economy but also relative to India's crucial place in world affairs. And the reason for this is obvious - the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in promoting India. His recent visit to the UAE, where its Muslim leaders embraced him, was another dramatic indication of this fact.

In a mere year in office, Modi has brought the message of India to the world in a way that has perhaps not occurred since the independence of the country. He has been India's ambassador of goodwill and understanding, visiting numerous countries and a great variety of people. His outreach has been enormous, skilful and well-managed, causing other countries to take notice and reciprocate.

Modi is warm, considerate and refined in his dealings with foreign nations and dignitaries. He is able to make friends with heads of state and bring the concerns of India on to a common platform with them. He demonstrates a dynamic India looking to the future with an expansive global vision.

Modi provides a personal face for India to the world. His communication is not merely diplomatic or informative, but sincere, heartfelt and moving. He provides India an articulate voice in the dialogue of civilisations. We could say that Modi has created a new era in India's foreign relations.

Today many people complain that there are few notable leaders in the world. Narendra Modi now is being counted among these outstanding leaders of global stature. When people talk of India, they are referring to the India that Modi has made them aware of, not the India of past decades.

Modi energises India's extensive diaspora that has become a force to be reckoned with in the global community. He is strengthening the diaspora's ties to India that were previously neglected, making them all into potential ambassadors of India.

A new foreign policy for India

Historically India has had an indrawn foreign policy, proud and aloof, seeing little real need to engage the world. The Pakistani diplomatic outreach in countries like the US and UK was much larger and more successful; so was that of even a small country like Singapore. Modi has transformed that situation and brought India to the forefront in a way that has quickly put India's competitors in the background.

In the years prior to Modi, India did not have any recognised face or commonly known representative for the world as a whole. Few outside of India knew who the prime minister of India was, much less what the government's policies were.

We live in a global economy that cannot be ignored. No country can flourish in isolation, either from its own immediate neighbors or from distant lands. India can benefit enormously from its global position but must remain committed to a more prominent role for foreign affairs. India has good connections with America, Europe and Asia and can form a bridge between them.

India cannot develop economically without becoming an integral part of the global economy. This complements the effort to improve India's economy inside the country, and need not be regarded as unhelpful to it.

India should honour how Modi has raised the country's international image and seek to better benefit from his brilliant work, not to criticise him for giving importance to international relations, which are obviously more significant than ever.

And, we must remember, Modi only travels outside of India for the country's work. It is not for personal vacation.

India has the people, talent, resources and connections to prosper in the global economy, but needs confidence, motivation and consistency in order to make it work. The time is ripe for India to reclaim its rightful place of respect in the community of nations. And it has a leader who has the vision and the energy that can accomplish this.

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