It is an honour for any nation to be considered the best in the world. India has gradually yet firmly reached the pinnacle of success on the plinth of economic growth. In the emerging world order, India is the new power for global change. Transforming its image of a predominantly poor developing country perched on the lower rungs of political and economic ladders, it has of late written a new destiny and a dynamic new future for itself. The world powers have conceded that India has the potential to shape the international order. In the words of Narendra Modi himself, “India’s rise is a story of Rare Resilience, Renewed Resurgence, Superb Speed and Spectacular Scale”
The emerging new economic status of India in Asia and at the global level has helped it assume a new powerful self-image, which in turn has bestowed on it a leading political and economic responsibility. Modi believes, “Once we decide we have to do something, we can go miles ahead.”
The transformation came when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India. It would not be an exaggeration to give complete credit of India’s unprecedented world position as a political and economic power to Narendra Modi. All Indian achievements trickle down to all achievements of Narendra Modi.
Modi became the 15th Prime Minister of India on 26th May 2014. He created history as Heads of all SAARC countries attended for the first time the swearing-in of an Indian Prime Minister. He is a man of action, and doesn’t wait for the right time for initiating things.
He envisions India as a unified and a great nation, and thus he has been continuously working towards fulfilling the dream of making “Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat”. The glory India has achieved is unprecedented in the modern era. Modi believes in creating ties for mutual growth rather than moving ahead alone. He invokes the world thus, “Unity is not important for economic progress alone. Peace, unity and harmony are useful in family, life, society and for the nation. And to all those who believe in Vasudhaive Kutumbakam, the whole world is one.”
“Narendra Modi is the reflection of the dynamism and potential of India’s rise. He recognizes that a billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” said Barack Obama. He further adds, “Narendra Modi has laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls, and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change. Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern – a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a digital India.”
Modi has come a long way from being denied visa to the US when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat to creating a friendship with Barack Obama. Modi made his first visit to the US to attend the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals in New York. Obama called him a Man of Action, and agreed to be the first US President to come to India as the Chief Guest of 66th Republic Day celebrations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created an image of himself as an international icon representing India. No Prime Minister had done that before. The world has suddenly started to notice India as a “Bright Spot” partly because of the limelight Modi has created on the world stage. Within a span of two years, India has made an indelible impression on the world economy under the guiding force of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the country. In the words of Ram Vilas Paswan, the current Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, “Compared to the last ten years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised India’s honour at the international level in just two years.”
Modi’s Strategic Approach
Modi worked on a two-pronged global strategy:
• To establish himself as a world political leader and raise India’s stature abroad, and
• To establish himself domestically as the best political, economic and social leader to date. Inviting all SAARC leaders to his swearingin ceremony – even Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif was a great diplomatic move, which proves his sharp long-term foresight. It was the first proof that he is a smart statesman who could create in one stroke, a positive and approachable image of himself and the nation before regional Asian and global leaders.
Winning Hearts at Home Modi’s unparalleled charisma led to BJP winning with an absolute majority, and it gave new hope to the citizens in a time of despair. Gradually, people have developed a renewed faith in the government and governance under Modi’s rule. Since his becoming the Prime Minister, he has launched innumerable initiatives for the growth and development of the country and the people. Some significant initiatives are Atal Pension Yojana for the unorganized sector; Jan Aushadhi Yojana for retail sale of generic drugs; Kisan Vikas Patra for farmers; Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana for funds for the girl child; Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana or DAY for helping poor through skill training; Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana for the eradication of female foeticide and education of girls, etc. The most impactful initiatives that helped India create a positive image before the world are as follows:
Aadhaar: Though this ambitious scheme was started by the previous UPA government, under Modi’s government, its real benefits are being realized. It is the base for Modi government’s several growth schemes. Cleaning Ganga: The Ganges is not only a symbol of purity and religion in India, which gives an additional impetus to its cleaning, but it also represent a large part of our ecosystem geographically and demographically.
Jan Dhan Yojana: With a goal of inclusive growth, Jan Dhan Yojana allowed anyone to open a bank account. Within two weeks, the scheme made its entry into the Guiness Book of World Records for the maximum number of accounts opened in a week.
LPG Subsidy: This is a popular initiative against poverty. Modi personally urged people to voluntarily give up their LPG subsidy. Consequently, five lakh new LPG connections were created and distributed to poor households that were still using firewoods or kerosene stoves for cooking.
Mann Ki Baat: Modi regularly makes a direct contact with millions of Indians at home and abroad through his signature address to the people of nation on radio and TV sharing and receiving ideas for the growth and development of India.
Swachh Bharat Mission: This is another popular mission started by Modi. It urges everyone to clean his/her locality, and the government contributes by building toilets and managing waste. Yoga Day: United Nations declared June 21 as International Yoga Day after India’s lobbying. Modi himself performed yoga at Rajpath and popularized it within and without India.
Digital India: Encouraging local talent stay in India & explore its destiny, while attracting talent that had left India seeking better opportunities. GST Bill: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the biggest indirect tax reform in the history of India since 1990. GST will ensure a complete, comprehensive and continuous mechanism of tax credits. Make in India: Modi has projected India as the next engine of growth by creating a domestic manufacturing hub. FDI is being eased, labour laws are being revamped and red tapism is being eliminated.
Skill India Mission: This mission aims to train over 40 crore (400 million) people in India in different skills by 2022. National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and the Skill Loan scheme are part of this mission.
Smart City Plan: 100 smart cities are being developed in India with a mission of urban renewal where these will be made citizen-friendly and sustainable.
Startup India: This campaign involves promoting bank financing for start-up ventures so entrepreneurship and employment could be encouraged and improved in the country.
Winning Hearts Abroad
The foreign policy of Narendra Modi (also called Modi Doctrine) is focused on creating strong economic ties in the entire South Asia with proactive, strong and sensitive approach. Gradually yet firmly, he has expanded his vision to South-East Asia, and all major economies of the world. While his foreign policy has been strong with selective neighbours such as China and Pakistan, he has mostly focused on establishing trade deals with all countries rather than concentrating on confrontational issues. His approach is completely positive and he likes to turn issues into opportunities.
As of September 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made 54 foreign trips in six continents highlighting his foreign policy of improving economic relations with all significant economies in the world. The following are selective snapshots of India’s journey towards being a bright spot in the global economy under Modi’s enviable leadership: Afghanistan: Modi not only unveiled a new Parliament building in Afghanistan – for which the Indian government had provided funds, but also made it clear that India is ready to go the extra mile in creating good diplomatic and business relations.
Bangladesh: Though the India- Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement had been signed in 1974 itself, this was a historic moment for India and Bangladesh as the Agreement was ratified by India after 40 years.
China: Prompting China to benefit from the winds of change in India, Modi promised China better business opportunities with a more transparent, responsive and stable government, and both sides signed deals worth $22 billion.
France: Modi made the impressive Rafale fighter jet deal with France in a government-to-government agreement.
Germany: Modi and Angela Merkel agreed on stronger educational exchanges and collaborations between their universities, efforts towards urban development and a free trade agreement between the European Union and India.
Iran: In his maiden visit to Iran, Modi focused on connectivity, trade, investment and energy partnership. The most notable agreement was the Trilateral Agreement on Chabahar Port.
Russia: While meeting with Vladimir Putin, Modi stressed on deeper engagements with Russia, especially in oil and coal sectors in addition to diamond trade and agro-business.
Saudi Arabia: Both countries agreed to move beyond just basic trading and made agreements on joint ventures and investments in oil refineries.
Singapore: India made agreements with the Singapore government on clean and renewable energy from solar, nuclear, wind and biomass in its effort to reduce dependence on coal.
South Korea: India boosted bilateral ties with South Korea by making seven agreements on avoidance of double taxation and better dialogue between their respective National Security Councils.
United Kingdom: 27 agreements were made between India and the UK including technology transfer in defence, fight against terrorism, cyber security and tackling online child pornography.
United Arab Emirates: Modi’s visit to the UAE was special and it ended with several positive agreements on terror, trade and steps to benefit the blue-collared Indian expatriate community.
International Summits and Policies
Modi has revived or renewed foreign policy initiatives. A quick glance at a few of them.
Act East Policy: India has a special place for ASEAN and other East Asian countries. Modi has upgraded the Look East Policy to Act East Policy, to get results from the 25-year-old economic engagements of PV Narasimha Rao government.
G20 Summit: In his efforts against black money and towards the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action plan of the G20/OECD to modernise international tax rules, Modi was successful in getting the G20 nations add an important clause in the final Leaders’ Communiqué making it difficult for tax havens to give complete tax exemption to companies.
Neighbourhood First Policy: It is being hailed as one of the most significant initiatives of Narendra Modi. Believing that a strong SAARC will help all its members grow politically and economically, Modi has consistently worked towards strengthening regional cooperation and developmental activities in the SAARC region.
United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, New York: Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly and urged for increased cooperation in the fight against climate change and elimination of poverty.
West Asia Policy: Calling the Middle East – West Asia, Modi created a policy of Link West Policy, in which India has put special emphasis on Gulf countries as they supply two-third of India’s total oil import.
World Hindi Secretariat (WHS): Modi laid the foundation stone of WHS in Mauritius in 2015. WHS would promote Hindi as an international language and India is trying to get 129 votes at the United Nations to make Hindi an official language of the UN.
Conquering the World
India’s overall global stature has risen just like its economic position in the world. The entire world is looking at it to take a leadership position in economic matters.
The move to the top is never effortless. Rather it requires tactful strategies. The world cannot be conquered in the modern era by warfare, but by economic progress and diplomatic relations. Only a seasoned and great statesman like Narendra Modi could turn even the most vicious adversaries in India’s favour. Today, almost all the countries of the world have improved business and political relations with India, which is certainly on an upward growth trajectory.
Further, Modi has given equal importance to internal as well as external strategy to help India develop in all sectors and consequently build India’s positive image before the world. Not all would be able to fathom his tactically sound moves to visit all parts of the world in the capacity of the first salesman of the nation and sign unprecedented agreements on innovative business ideas of immense mutual benefits.
The unprecedented standing ovation on the floor of US Congress for an Indian Prime Minister was a mark of the renewed respect and trust that India has garnered globally under the leadership of Modi. “Narendra Modi is the reflection of the dynamism and potential of India’s rise. He recognizes that a billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” said Barack Obama.
The World Salutes
Several world leaders have praised Modi profusely.
- “Modi is the most popular man on planet.” –David Cameron
- “Modi is a reputable political leader.” – Vladimir Putin
- “India is the emerging democratic superpower in Asia under Modi.” – Tony Abbott
- “Modi is the best leader with best policies since (India’s) independence.” – Rupert Murdoch