Monday, September 28, 2015

PM Modi's foreign policy initiatives.

There has been a sea change in the way the Prime Minister's visits abroad are executed ever since Narendra Modi has taken over the mantle of the country's leadership.

Earlier, the PMs used to go abroad and the following rituals were played out each time, without change, for the last so many years. Let me try to recap those activities:-

    (a) the spokesman from the ministry of external affairs gives out a sketchy press briefing on
         the impending visit abroad by the PM and his/her itinerary.
    (b) the PM is seen off by his cabinet colleagues and a host of dignitaries with much garlanding,
          handing over of bouquets, adorning of shawls and of course, touching of feet, embraces or
          a mere nod of head - depending upon the individual's closeness to the leader.
    (c) the PM is always accompanied by a fairly large contingent of the press corps which towards
          the latter years, used to interview the PM on board his flight, both on the outward and the
          return legs - probably to give it the 'foreign twang'!
    (d) the PM does one-on-one meetings with the visiting country's leaders, gives lectures as
          scheduled, attends state banquets where speeches couched in diplomatic jargon were
          delivered and perhaps, goes for sight seeing, depending upon the time available. There was
          no time earmarked for the Indian diaspora in the visiting countries!
    (e) the feedback about the visiting country's press coverage about the visit was never known
          though with the visual media getting to be omnipresent these days, the information is instantly
          passed on!
    (f) Most of the visits could be termed as 'politically correct, staid and banal!' What benefits the
         country had accrued from all those visits are there for all of us to see.

Whereas, what we see today is a highly visible Prime Minister, who carries out his official engagements with the world leaders rather vigorously and makes it a point to be with and interact with the Indian diaspora in all the countries that he's visited thus far. And he's made it a point to use Hindi as the medium to put across his thoughts! (He, sure, has picked up some instant followers like Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif wanting to carry out his dialogue with Obama, in Urdu, from some story that I heard in the course of this visit!!) 

Taking the role of the Devil's advocate, the questions that come instantly are, 'Isn't there a tinge of theatrics in all of these? Should the PM get into such minute details?' And before I answer the questions, here're a few reactions from the Indians abroad who've participated in such interactions - a generous sprinkling of them being my friends, I must admit:-

       (a) "We feel proud to have a hands-on PM who's really bothered about us and our activities".
       (b) "The people around us are also impressed by our PM and are keen to know more about
       (c) "We'd definitely like to get back to India and contribute towards nation building as the PM
             has exhorted us".
       (d) "The Prime Minister is sincere about bringing in sweeping changes to the retrograde practices
             in vogue".
       (e) "We want him to succeed and transform India to a strong and developed nation, respected by
             the world!"

My take.

PM Modi, has definitely given a new impetus in the manner we conduct our foreign policy. His hectic schedule of visiting a number of countries has been a necessity to strengthen bilateral relations and in projecting a 'happening India.' The results will be visible in the not-too-distant future! And my personal advice to the PM would be to avoid barbs on his opponents, they're not worth it and definitely, not on foreign soil!!

Here's wishing that India gains its rightful stature in the comity of nations!!


At least a few members of the opposition must be ruing the day when they thumped their chests, on Modi's elevation as the PM, saying that the country's foreign policy was gonna be direction-less because a person with 'neither-an-idea-about-it' nor 'experience' is gonna be at the helm. The PM, definitely, must be having the last laugh on those doomsayers!   


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