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It tells about what helped Narendra Modi be elected as India’s new prime minister and the new geo-political reset it demands.
While there was huge propaganda against Modi as a Hindu extremist supported mainly by Sadhus and saints, the elections revealed it were Indian youths who took him as an avatar of modernity and progress.
In reputed international Media, rise of Modi was claimed as India’s Abe, but Chinese experts have analyzed - he can be India’s Nixon.
If Modi’s rise and the new geo-strategic significances it carried, are well realized and if is followed with suitable policy adjustments in world capitals, the world will certainly be able to solve major global problems with grand new possibilities. Instead, if major powers fail to understand its significance with Modi, the world may make efforts to form new alliances that may initiate a new phase of Cold War.

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  1. 1. 1 MMOODDII’’SS IINNDDIIAA AANNDD TTHHEE WWOORRLLDD HHEE CCOONNFFRROONNTTSS Keshav Prasad Bhattarai When someone has ability to lead people with their hopes, can ensure hope to govern people, promise for them, perform for them, and can convince people – it is him who can work and create opportunities for them, nothing is impossible for him or her. This is what Narendra Damodardas Modi did in the recent Indian parliamentary election and makes people believe that their hope is their most powerful weapon to change their life and their society. He exhibited his exceptional ability to work with that hope and make it a reality. He knew what people want from him, knew what could energize them, and knew how they themselves could become their change agent. Millions of proud youth voters, who dreamed for a new, strong, stable, and prosperous India, stood by him. A Spanish Scholar, politician and former Director General of UNESCO Federico Mayor was more than right when he said, “Foresight is a duty and shortsightedness is a crime”. Again, Modi proved he has both foresight and vision with exceptional ability to share with his fellow citizens and translate them into reality. Moreover, see his imagination in diplomacy. While critics were making fun of his inexperience in foreign policy - mostly needed to lead an emerging world power, the newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a brilliant diplomatic move in inviting all leaders of SAARC countries in his swearing in ceremony and was able to turn the event as an unofficial SAARC Summit. The message was clear - he can stand tall in performing his duty to his nation and the region where India pivots - with foresight as duty as Mayor said. Besides, his first unexpected diplomatic move to invite the regional leaders of South Asia in his swearing in ceremony, has demonstrated his ambition, resolve, action, leadership and above all - a vision that the World’s largest democracy demands from its highly expected leader. India’s outgoing Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in a speech he delivered at Dhaka University on September 2011, had made a time tested remark; “I believe in all sincerity that India will not be able to realize its own destiny without the partnership of its South Asian neighbours.” Therefore, Dr. Singh continued, “establishing relations of friendship and trust with our neighbours” and “creation and consolidation of a peaceful and prosperous regional environment in South Asia are the highest priority of our government”. A sober Dr. Singh had made a right statement, but he could hardly make any substantial attempt to attain what he really believed. However, his successor Narendra Modi - presented in western and Pakistani media as a hawkish Hindu leader and claimed by many as novice in foreign affairs - broke a new ground in diplomacy with imagination. The message he gave to the leaders of SAARC region was clear as his predecessor said – until all India’s neighbors are
  2. 2. 2 part of the process, India can never progress. For example, he asked Nepal’s Prime Minister Susheel Koirala - come with clear-cut and well-prepared development agenda, India is ready to work on that. The way of his dealing with his immediate neighbors invited admiration from countries like China and the United States. Fortunately, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shared similar imagination. The natural warmth Sharif received in India - has virtually changed the mood of Pakistani public opinion. Despite pressures from Pakistani hardliners, Pakistani Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif was equally bold and decisive in accepting the invitation and attending the ceremony. As an experienced politicians and a diplomat, Sharif convinced the Indian as well as Pakistani public that sincerity and courage means in mending bilateral relations than with sour and unending political rhetoric. Hundreds of reason could be invented to upkeep a frosty relations governing both countries for long. That is an easy job, but to take a small step at the right direction at the right time, is great and even demands mountains of strong will and courage. Fortunately, both Modi and Sharif exhibited will and courage and both they have abided themselves by the bold and confident diplomatic mission initiated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee while Sharif himself was in power in 1999. IINNDDIIAANN YYOOUUTTHHSS TTOOOOKK MMOODDII AASS ““AANN AAVVAATTAARR OOFF MMOODDEERRNNIITTYY AANNDD PPRROOGGRREESSSS"" While Modi’s rival politicians and their parties were launching “Hate Modi Campaign, but as Shashi Tharoor – the spokesperson of Congress Party admits, people took him as an avatar of modernity and progress". As stated earlier, Modi at best knew than all his opponents that only his success in addressing the dreams of millions of Indian youths, could led him and his party to power. “For them youth may be a voter, but for the BJP youth is a power” was his favorite mantra. It made Indian youth feel proud and recognized. From the very beginning, Modi had known what weapons his opponents had with them against him. Hindutwa was his clear agenda, but Indians knew it much better that Hindutwa was not just a faith or religion, but a philosophy, a way of life and a civilization. An atheist that does not believe in God or even criticize God can remain a Hindu. It is not easy for a non-Hindu to understand and realize this. Even in Hindu religious texts, those who oppose Gods, fought against Gods, dishonor the Gods, but if remained true to his religion - that means his duty, no God – even the supreme one could punish him. Because the Gods too, was to serve the same religion or duty that an ordinary man was to follow. Obviously, to be a Hindu is to be a secular, but at times when provoked by other religious community, unfortunately, some Hindus have resorted to retaliation and occasionally, that has tarnished India’s image.
  3. 3. 3 Therefore, huge efforts were placed within and outside India to present Narendra Modi as a Hindu extremist and create deep divisions among people with this as their weapon. But, among Indian masses especially among the youths, he carried a great appeal founded not on false promises, but on the performances he attained as Gujrat’s Chief Minister and the most successful economy he was able to deliver to Gujarati people. They thought, if Modi wins, the country would replicate Gujrat’s achievements to all over the country, create millions of job for them, improve their lives, and would be able to deliver them a strong and prosperous India. Modi’s personality and his hard work was indeed the main reason for BJP’s resounding electoral victory. However, the BJP leadership’s visionary decision to nominate Modi as their prime ministerial candidate and most significantly their strong, and highly committed and disciplined organizational structure, has also contributed much for this resounding popular mandate. Together with Modi’s achievement as a successful Chief Minister of India’s most developed state and the qualities of his leadership created a new history for India. The United States, western media, India’s opposition parties and Pakistan were treating Modi as a pariah and were presenting one-sided picture for an alleged connivance at a very unfortunate communal violence that killed 720 Muslims, 250 Hindus in Gujrat in 2002. In Indian context, it was a spontaneous retaliation against 58 Hindu pilgrims who were burned alive in a train - among them 25, were women and 15 children. The train - called Sabarmati Express was carrying some 2000 people –mostly Hindu pilgrims from Ayodhaya. The crowd attacking the train and burning people alive were Muslims. While independent investigations and the Supreme Court of India exonerated Modi from all such charges, the western media - from the reputed New York Times and UK based Guardian to acclaimed magazines like Foreign Affairs and The Economist, have continued their Modi bashing inclinations up to now. Similarly, Indian political forces considered close to western government, have been trying hard to reconcile with the truth. Undoubtedly, Modi as the Chief Minister was morally responsible for both activities; he accepted its moral responsibility and even tendered his resignation. But, huge efforts at national and international level to drag him to the case and accuse him for being directly responsible for the violence against the Muslims, could find no subscribers among Indian people. Because they knew the truth much better than most of the political parties fighting the election with a single agenda - that was targeted against Modi. MMOODDII’’SS VVIICCTTOORRYY BBEEAARRSS SSTTRROONNGG MMEESSSSAAGGEE FFOORR GGLLOOBBAALL GGEEOO--PPOOLLIITTIICCSS Andrew MacAskill and Kartikay Mehrotra for Bloomberg Business week, have summed up geo- political significance of Modi government as thus - “Since winning the biggest Indian electoral mandate in 30 years last week, Prime Minister-designate Modi has spoken twice on the phone with U.S. President Barack Obama, became one of three Twitter users followed by Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and pledged to make relations with Russia “even stronger.” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper published an op-ed column saying he’s likely to be “India’s Nixon.”
  4. 4. 4 Speeches delivered by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US Defense Secretary Chuk Hagel and Deputy Chief of Chinese Army Gen. Wang Guanzhong at the just concluded Shangri La Dialogue, tells much in itself where Modi has to tread its regional strategic role. The latest round of high profile - Asia Security Summit organized by renowned London - headquartered global think tank - International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), has clearly exhibited the strategic scenario of the present day world that embeds Modi. In his heated remarks, General Guanzhong while departing from his prepared speech was compelled to lambast at Japan and the United States for their coordinated but provocative threats against China. Guanzhong was highly critical of both America and Japan for alleging his country - showing disrespect for international law and established practices. General Guanzhong while firing back claimed, the US and Japan were bidding to expand their hegemony in the region. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his keynote address explicitly expressed his country’s willingness to play a larger role in regional security while supporting the Philippines and Vietnam in their territorial dispute with China in South China Sea. Further he reiterated his government’s policy to provide “ten new patrol vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard”, “three brand-new patrol vessels to Indonesia” and planning “to provide such vessels to Vietnam as well.” In the first Plenary Session of Shangri La Dialogue Obama’s Defense Secretary Chuk Hagal had clearly challenged China while saying - “The U.S. military would not abide by China’s unilateral declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, including over the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands”, and would strongly stand for “the mutual defense treaty with Japan”. Reiterating US’s rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific policy, Hagal claimed, “The rebalance is not a goal, not a promise, or a vision – it’s a reality. . .” and America is “committed to maintaining our leadership in the 21st century.” Three days earlier, US President Barrack Obama in his remarks at a military academy on May 28, - as claimed by analysts and White House officials as his major foreign policy speech had said, “America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.” It is crucial to note that while Hagal was announcing strong strategic posture against China in Singapore, he laid much hope to expand its strategic partnership with India as “one of the United States’ most important, democratic partners – and a country with historic influence across Asia”. Hagel further elaborated US’s India policy under the Modi government and welcomed India’s increasingly active role in Asia to strengthen regional order and its “growing defense capabilities”. He also expressed his country’s commitment to strengthen defense ties with India, and drive for a “more transformational cooperation”. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was full of warmth and appreciative of a formidable Narendra Modi coming to power and expects long-term cooperative economic and strategic relations that will make "confluence of the two seas" that in his own explanation “is the Pacific and Indian Oceans, peaceful and more prosperous”.
  5. 5. 5 WWIILLLL MMOODDII BBEE IINNDDIIAA’’SS AABBEE OORR IINNDDIIAA’’SS NNIIXXOONN?? Interesting debates have found spaces in western and Chinese media. First, noted scholar Brahma Chellaney termed Narendra Modi as “India’s Shinzo Abe” in Project Syndicate. Chellaney compared “Japan’s determination to reinvent itself as a more competitive and confident country” preceding its political instability with that of India to reflect “Indian’s desire for dynamic, assertive leader to help revitalize their country’s economy and security.” However, many more are there - especially in western media like Jeffrey W. Hornung and Shyam Tekwani (The Diplomat, May 27, 2014), showing no appetite to accept peoples’ large verdict in favor of Modi and are trying to tarnish his image only to serve their prejudices. In addition, the psychological pressure with such media hype could be noticed in governments too and it might be their intentions too. So was the West slow and hesitant - especially the United States. The US was only awoken only after the election results were almost clear and thereafter the White House immediately announced that Modi “will be welcomed in the United States” - that also in a way that is doing a great favor to Modi. It was followed by a call from US President Obama. Compared to America, China and Japan exhibited bigger political and diplomatic maturity in handling the issue. China is aware and seems worried on the strategic development in the region it belongs. It also knows well that India can upend the balance if tilts to either side. China has its border disputes with India since China occupied Tibet. Nature of the trilateral relations between India, China, and Pakistan has become a constant source of fissures in China’s relations with India. But, both sides know history cannot be erased in one day and indeed, it can be reshaped with better diplomacy and statesmanship. Both India and China are doing this and Modi has exhibited he can do this. Better explorations in trade relations and managing political differences with a country of 1.2 billion people - most prominent and promising among the emerging economies, is sure to give a new momentum to China’s economy moving fast to be number one. Obviously, India is a fast growing military power with its exemplary geo-strategic location in Indian Ocean and in Malacca straits, gives India a similar strategic edge that China has in the Himalayan region. Congratulating Narendra Modi for his historic electoral victory, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang termed China and India as “natural cooperation partners” that would not only benefit their peoples, but also make a major contribution to settling the issue of development of the entire humanity.
  6. 6. 6 China’s diplomatic fine-tuning worked well. When Li Keqauiang made a first telephone call as a foreign head of government to congratulate Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, Modi returned it with open heart. Replying Li Modi said China is always a priority in India's foreign policy and his government is resolved to exploit the full potential of strategic and cooperative Partnership with China to attain their long-term developmental goals. Modi made a sharp move and extended an invitation to President Xi Jinping to pay a visit to India through premier Li. Modi’s sweeping diplomacy worked and China’s foreign minister Wang Yi is visiting India next week, and perhaps, the visit is aimed to extend an invitation to Narendra Modi and find out possibilities for making Modi’s visit to China and Xi’s visit to India any time this year. If both sides are prepared to make a breakthrough in consolidating their relationship and give it a new direction, Modi can become India’s Nixon. MMAAJJOORR PPOOWWEERRSS CCAANN MMAAKKEE TTHHEE WWOORRLLDD MMUUCCHH BBIIGGGGEERR TTHHAANN IITT IISS Countries like Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan make ongoing assessments of promising leaders - in their neighborhood and make efforts to remain in touch with them from years before they come to power. In such study, their focus is mainly China followed by India and others. China does the same in countries of its major concern mainly in its neighborhood. Even United States had invested much of its diplomatic efforts in wooing Xi JInping before he was elected China’s President. However, when it is India and Modi, America disappointingly failed to put its diplomatic mechanizations oiled and ordered. Evidentially, while the US and Europe was busy in blaming Modi for an unfounded incident and even exonerated by the Supreme Court of India, China had invited Modi four times during the time he was chief minister of Gujrat. The largest chunk of Chinese investment in India was channeled to Gujrat. Japan was similarly enthusiastic and it has already been agreed that by 2016, some 100 Japanese companies with millions of dollars are planning to invest in Gujrat. Indubitably, it pays not only in economy, but also in politics, diplomacy, and better environment for enhancing global peace as well. Chinese knew it much earlier that better explorations in trade relations and managing political differences with a country of India’s size and population, most prominent and promising among the emerging economies, is sure to give a new momentum to China’s economy - that is making fast move to become number one - any time within a decade. Healthier relations with India count much in achieving this aim. Obviously, India is a fast growing military power with its exemplary geo-strategic location in Indian Ocean and in Malacca straits, giving India similar strategic edge that China has in the Himalayan region. Among the world’s major military powers, India’s relation with Russia has stood tall and true even at the most critical times of its history. They have left no space for any grievances between them. Both Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are highly appreciative of the traditional relations existing between them. Strategic Agreement signed between India and
  7. 7. 7 Russia in 2000, has opened doors for the purchase and production of advanced Russian tanks, armored vehicles, and fighter aircraft under Russian licenses in India. That also included the transfer of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier to India - named as INS Vikramaditya. Interestingly, if nothing dramatic happens, Putin will rule Russia for over a decade from now. Likewise, if the popularity, mandate and the work of his first few days as the 15th Prime Minister of India is any indication, Narendra Modi will continue to lead his country at least for the other five years term- that also means total ten years. Coincidently, by the established political practices China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqauiang will continue to lead China for about the same time. Ironically, the world’s most powerful country – the United States has problems with all these three major powers. With Russia, it is worst since the end of Cold War. America is confronting with China in every regional and global forum. India has a most popular and powerful Prime Minister for over a period of 30 years, but unfortunately, an unpleasant historical incidence - a denial of US Visa in 2005, is still haunting both countries. American media and its intellectuals are taking pleasures at blaming the most popular leader of the world’s largest democracy. Whether the world would shrink or grow wide in its ability to advance peaceful global order, economic progress, and peoples’ freedom, it depends upon the relations between and among these four countries. PPOOSSSSIIBBLLEE NNEEWW AALLLLIIAANNCCEESS AANNDD NNEEWW PPOOSSSSIIBBIILLIITTIIEESS According to Robert Kagan (New Republic, May 26, 2014), today more than 50 percent of Americans believe the United States plays “a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.” Kagan further says - decline of its power has not panicked American, but they have taken it something as a relief. Because, they mean - with less power they are bound to share “fewer responsibilities”. Kagan’s thought provoking narrative in the New Republic mentioned above is titled as – “Superpowers Don't Get to Retire What our tired country still owes the world”. The new world order created some 70 years ago from the rubble of World War II by and around the power of the United States, may show signs of cracking or collapsing, but a country of its size, military and economic power, cannot get retire at its will. A war-fatigued America with a weakened economy may be finding hard to continue its unchallenged global leadership after the end of Cold War and may wish for some kind of retirement. Such a retirement of the world’s largest military and economic power will only bring peril all over the world. Even its worst rival power don’t want America go from the sight outright, because no power on earth to this day has power and capacity to maintain global order led by the United States.
  8. 8. 8 Any one may differ with President Obama’s speech as mentioned earlier - “America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will”. Nevertheless, in substance he cannot be challenged outright. Therefore, for Modi and for Obama, both have limited options in managing their relations. America cannot ignore the world’s largest democracy with 1.2 billion people, a growing economy with huge potential for reviving its own economy. President Obama also knows that no other major power than India value the values of freedom and democracy that America has led since it came into existence. However, compared to President George W Bush, President Obama has given relatively low attention to India during his presidency. One example is enough to confirm this. The U.S. – India Civil Nuclear Agreement for which Manmohan Singh even risked his government and President Bush, had invested his total diplomatic influence and political commitment to turn it as his major milestone in foreign policy during his presidency, has become a lame agreement under Obama. As a pragmatist politician, Modi will try his best efforts to normalize the relations with the US. As a Prime Minister of one of the major world power, he cannot hurt its relations with the world’s most powerful country or remain aloof from it. But, to add warmth in it would equally be Obama’s responsibility. The first such opportunity would probably be the annual UN General Assembly in September when America can do much to iron out all the differences existing between the two largest democracies. According to David Gordon and Jordan Schneider in Foreign Affairs, a rising China and desperate but militarily still indomitable Russia can make for a formidable geopolitical pair sharing some common strategic interests in constraining the West and protecting their national sovereignty. If such a strategic partnership takes place, it would naturally lay the foundation for a new Cold War. And if America fails in strengthening its relations with India with the warmth and commitment similar to George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice period, Modi’s India may go closer to Russia to update its defense need. Easy access in huge Chinese markets and Russia’s infrastructure development boom can easily lure Indian government to invigorate Indian economy and create millions of jobs as to the expectations of Indian masses. Obviously, when China, Russia, and India come together, then the existing global balance of power carries less meaning. WWHHEENN FFAACCTTSS CCHHAANNGGEE,, CCHHAANNGGEE YYOOUURR MMIINNDD IIMMMMEEDDIIAATTEELLYY OORR .. .. .. Dimitri K. Simes has written a revealing story on – Losing Russia, in Foreign Affairs. According to Simes, “Washington's crucial error lay in its propensity to treat post-Soviet Russia as a defeated enemy.” It was not a US vs. Russia war – but a war that Soviet people including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian President Boris Yeltsin joined hands with America and fought together against the monolithic communist dictatorship. The real winner were the
  9. 9. 9 people of former Soviet Union, but America never tried to let them feel this and began to behave Russia as a defeated country. (For detail please read - PUTIN PUTS IN WHEN NATO AND EU MOVE EAST – OPED, Eurasia Review April 8, 2014) In his critical analysis, Simes further notes - the unmistakable impression that Washington always left was that “making Russia a strategic partner has never been a major priority”. All the US presidents always expected unconditional Russian cooperation at the US will and especially Clinton administration viewed Russia like postwar Germany or Japan – a country that could be forced to follow U.S. dictates. Schimes concludes, “Russia was transformed, not defeated”, but the U.S. and NATO failed to understand this and that profoundly shaped U.S. Russia relations at present situation. This American policy has also transformed the world in such a way that the real winner of the end of Cold War and dissolution of Soviet Union is not the U.S. or Russian people, but People’s Republic of China - in economic, military, and strategic terms. While Soviet Union was there, United States had to compete with a huge military power backed by a weak economy. But with the rise of China, United States has to race with a formidable economic and military power – that is still young to gain its high rise. Still there is Russia although economically weak but militarily still indomitable. Russia’s joining hands with China could well serve the global strategic ambition of a rising China. While returning to India, in substance it seems, American policy towards India is not much inspiring. While the political and even moral appeal of western-modeled democracy is shrinking worldwide, and even its popularity and rationality of democracy is being questioned even in the countries of its origins, India has exhibited largest show of democratic practice developed by western countries and substantiated how the western democratic values are still relevant. Furthermore, after thirty years, Indian voters gave clear and an overwhelming majority to a party and its alliance- that has always stood stronger against so many sectarian pulls – undermining universal ideals of freedom and democracy. But again the voice from western capitals has failed to show the moral satisfaction that a developing country facing challenges of Himalayan scale to run democratic polity smoothly - has never shied away from its trust and confidence in democratic ideals since its independence in 1947 and has always been able to conduct its parliamentary elections uninterrupted. According to Stefan Halper, when a reporter accused John Maynard Keynes for the inconsistency in his thoughts, the most acclaimed economist of the 20th Century retorted, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir? When time changes, situation changes, leaders are changed and facts also are changed, such a changed situation demands new decisions and so are the way how the great decisions are taken. What Keynes has said applies everywhere – from economics to politics and from diplomacy to strategic affairs.
  10. 10. 10 Indubitably, America has failed to acknowledge the facts from the Soviet Union, in Russia, and in many other places. At times, this has betrayed its own history and its vital geo-political interests. Likely, United States, to please those playing against Modi government, may be tempted to undermine the mandate Narendra Modi received in recent general election and ignore the change India initiates. This way, if the U.S. fails to acknowledge the change and change its mind accordingly, emerging geo-strategic environment can take a sharp turn that would ultimately undermine vital American strategic interests and the values of freedom and democracy - already remaining defensive in many parts of the world. Eurasia Review June 6, 2014