Foreign Policy

“Modi – The Marketer” in USA – A Report Card !


After noteworthy interactions with Bhutan, Nepal, Japan, China and Afghanistan, “Foreign Policy Champion” PM Modi recently concluded his all-important trip to USA. With the background of Visa-row by Obama Administration and enthusiastic support of NRIs for Modi, this trip was surely an important event, if not historic. Sycophantic Indian media celebrated this event with full-time live coverage of PM Modi’s trip. Rather reporting unbiased and important news from all across the world and India, they chose to be cheerleaders! Nevertheless, contemporary Indian media has been an “Epitome of Exaggeration”. Meanwhile, after keenly following his itinerary, it seems, he had 3 major agendas to push through.

Firstly and importantly, the major agenda was of marketing the “Brand India” to the US Business Community. He scored full marks by meeting the top brass of the world’s biggest corporations in US. Through this effort, he may have induced some optimism into these corporations to come and “Make in India”. Although, Mr. Modi has been trying to allay fears of these investors, he has still loads of work pending, in creating a comfortable business environment in India. I think, that all these corporations will have now huge expectations from the next budget session. They will look forward to important policy changes in India and till then, they will “Wait and Watch”.

Second Agenda, was to step up the “Brand Modi” into an important International Icon. Like Nehru, Indira, Atal and Manmohan, he wished to make a mark by being a change agent in world politics. He failed miserably with that, but he should be excused as this being his first attempt. His fluttering speech at UNGA went unheard in an empty hall. Although it was very unlike Modi, but it seems that the formal setup, global platform and a written speech format got better of him. He did come to his own midway and made some important points, but who doesn’t. Remember even Manmohan Singh recieved much adulation from its international counterparts, previously at UNGA. Funnily, Indian media lost it senses and sensationalized his speech by equating it with National pride. Indian PMs have been speaking at this forum since ages, had put better points with higher impact. PM Modi also unsuccessfully tried his hand in reaching out to US youth at “Global Citizen Festival” rock concert, but ended up boring them.

Third agenda was about International diplomacy and to revive relations with US Government which were turning sour in last couple of years. Mr. Modi averagely performed as we weren’t able to make any new breakthroughs in our relationship with USA. His dialogue with Obama was not even note-worthy by US media. But again, Mr. Modi can be excused as realists weren’t expecting anything from Obama-Modi meet. Breakthroughs like “The Nuclear deal” don’t happen every day as it requires heightened levels of diplomatic mutual trust. US is also on the verge of electing new government, and India may have to wait for their new government to up-rise the relationship.

And yes beyond all this, Mr. Modi, held a “Tamasha” at Madison Square for his supportive NRIs, who left India for greener pastures. He acted upon previous government’s recommendations and appreciably promised important benefits to them. In his traditional style, Mr. Modi ended up entertaining usual narcissistic Indian audiences across the world, through his influential speech.

To conclude, I would say, I am little vary of aggressive marketing of “Brand Modi” and “Brand India”. A overly-hyped brand with no real actions or performance, crashes faster into unrecoverable troughs. “Reel Intentions” are commendable but India need “Real Actions”!


Why India is NOT Pakistan?

India and Pakistan both got independence from British in 1947. Both countries born together had one struggle for freedom, one civilization, and one culture. Yet after 66 years of each other’s independence, both the countries are poles apart, both economically and socially. As famously George Bush quoted, “I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories”!

But have we ever thought of reasons behind this anomaly between the two countries, which were years ago so similar, but today completely contradictory?

I have tried dwelling upon few reasons from our history in last 66 years. Here are the following:

Visionary Leaders –

India had assembly of great leaders in 1947, whose visions helped in defining India’s roadmap to recreate an exemplary civilization. Unlike Pakistan, India was lucky to have wise and compassionate leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, B R Ambedkar, S.Radhakrishnan, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc. All these leaders were groomed under Mahatma Gandhi and thus always valued the importance of upholding the “Dharma” (Justice). All these leaders valued the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil etc. and thus vowed to craft India a great Nation.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s Muhammad Ali Jinnah lacked both vision and wisdom. He could not create next crop of leaders nor was able to inspire fellow countrymen.

Non-Aligned Movement –

Those were days of Cold War between USA and Russia, and all the Third-World countries were aligning themselves to the either superpower. Non-aligned Movement led by Jawahar Lal Nehru with other world leaders, decided to not formally align or go against any major power blocs. Such entrepreneurial and hyperopic foreign policy helped India gain huge respect among the world leaders across geographies.

Unlike India, Pakistan chose to get associated with USA and its allies, to receive favors from the economic and military powerhouse. Today after so many years, where India is now highly self-dependent, Pakistan has ended up being a pet of USA (and also China). Pakistan’s impatience to grow faster by aligning itself to USA landed it nowhere. Whereas India grew slowly but surely, leaving Pakistan laps behind in the economic race.

Secularism –

Where Pakistan slowly turned into an Islamic country and treated minorities as second grade citizens, India chose “Secularism”. India respected people of all faiths and beliefs, allowing everyone to co-exist in harmony. Pakistan’s transformation into an Islamic country ended up mushrooming powerful religious leaders, which led to rise in terrorism and religious extremism.

India, on the other hand, kept a strict check on right-wing extremism of the majority, and also protected minorities through equal justice and supportive policies. Indian governments didn’t allowed India to become a Hindu-Pakistan, and kept restoring the faith of minorities during difficult times.

Equality among Democratic Pillars –

India always ensured equilibrium among all the democratic pillars of democracy which are Judiciary, Legislative, Executive, Military and Media. None of the five pillars was neither allowed to interfere, nor allowed to overpower another pillar. Although being parallel, all the pillars of democracy worked collectively to take India to newer of heights of being a great democracy.

Pakistan, failed in maintaining this equilibrium, and thus allowing the Military, several times, to overpower all other pillars of democracy. Pakistan had seen several coups by their Military leaders and even today, none of the other pillars had yet challenged its supremacy.

Beyond these key aspects, in last 66 years, India had been through several conflicts and issues. Issues ranged from leadership issues to secularism turned appeasement issues to pillow-fights between democratic pillars to feeble foreign policy issues etc. Yet we all have always been able to overcome all the problems, thanks to our fore-fathers, fellow Indians and leaders. We may come across several new conflicts in our near and distant future. But I am confident, that we “The Indians” will be able to solve all the existing and forthcoming problems amicably. Though sometimes slowly, but surely!

I would conclude by sharing this famous quote, “By travelling alone, we can go faster. But by travelling together, we can go farther!”