Hosting Obama

  • Successful R-Day invite caps transformative foreign policy of Narendra Modi government
  • As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s NDA government completes 6 months at the Centre, its record on the economic front has been equivocal.
  • Inflation is down, but that is more due to crashing global commodity prices than any big policy steps announced by the Modi government.
  • On the key issue of education, piloted by HRD minister Smriti Irani who appears to be under the influence of RSS ideology, the country has moved backwards.
  • Foreign policy, an area where Modi has personally taken charge, has seen bravura steps which should dramatically improve India’s international standing.
  • The capstone of these efforts has been Modi’s diplomatic coup in getting President Obama to be the chief guest at the next Republic Day parade.
  • Indian non-alignment had been defined chiefly as holding the West, led by the US, at arm’s length
  • This explains why the India-US nuclear deal elicited so much political opposition in India despite its signal achievement of bringing to an end India’s nuclear pariah status.
  • It also explains why, despite India’s long history of inviting foreign heads of state to grace Republic Day parades, a US president has never been invited before.
  • The signal sent by the R-Day invitation is even more important as Modi was denied a US visa for long.
  • It provides India access to high technology, capital and an enormous market for its goods and services.
  • The many convergent interests between India and the US include co-operation on terror, which threatens both nations.
  • Modi began his innings with an unprecedented invitation to Saarc neighbours to attend his government’s inauguration.
  • He visited Japan and played host to President Xi Jinping, drumming up Investment offers of $35 billion and $20 billion respectively.
  • He won the hearts of NRIs in the US and Australia, opening up the possibility of mobilising India’s vast diaspora for its development.
  • He made India’s case forcefully at multilateral meets such as Brics, East Asia summit, UN General Assembly and G20.