Modi visit brought renewed confidence about India: Experts

By Sarkaritel November 21, 2014 11:17

Modi visit brought renewed confidence about India: Experts

New Delhi, Nov 21  The “G20’s rock star” is how a Western daily described him. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 10-day three-nation blitz was on a diplomatic overdrive, attending multilateral gatherings, meeting world leaders, business honchos and also addressing the diaspora – all of which helped bring a “renewed confidence about India”, say experts.

Modi, who returned Thursday after visiting Myanmar, Australia and Fiji, met over 40 world leaders and heads of international organisations during the Asean-India, East Asia Summit, the G20 and the India-South Pacific Island nations meet.

He also spoke at length at each fora, reassuring the world and regional leaders about the ease of doing business in India and the change in policies under his government.

“I would say that Prime Minister Modi has arrived on the regional and international political arena. In a way, he has been able to establish his credibility and along with that there is renewed confidence about India,” leading strategic expert C. Uday Bhaskar told IANS.

But Bhaskar, director of think tank Society for Policy Studies (SPS), added that alongwith the renewed confidence about India in the spheres of economy and trade and politics, “now expectations are aroused that India will be able to deliver”.

He said the Indian system will “have to deliver, and the commitments made will be on test”.

“It was a successful visit. But now our ability to deliver is something that needs to be demonstrated, that is the real challenge for Modi,” he added.

According to Bhaskar, the first time meet with the 14 Pacific Islands in Fiji holds a lot of strategic importance.

“India has engaged for the first time with the South Pacific as a community. There is a lot of strategic significance in that, as for a long time China has been making consistent attempts to increase its footprints in the region.”

He said the 14 Pacific Island nations have an important element for voting in the UN, where each nation carries one vote, but “many of them look up to India for critical subjects like health, and IT”.

Bhaskar feels the Nov 19 visit to Fiji, the first by an Indian prime minister in 33 years, and the meeting with the Pacific Island nations was strategically the most important of Modi’s engagements this time.

According to former Indian envoy Sheel Kant Sharma, Modi’s visit to Australia, during which the G20 endorsed India’s concerns about black money and tax avoidance after an intervention by the prime minister was very significant.

“The point was important at the G20, to have transparency and automatic sharing on information in transfer of money that underlie remittances. We get a clear idea of what we get, and also about black money, of unauthorised transactions and tax havens. They need not have the insularity they have enjoyed all this while. That point was duly adopted by the G20,” Sharma told IANS.

He feels Modi’s intervention was “a success. What he said was not airy fairy. It was out of substantive points, out of preparation. He made substantive points without any superficiality”.

The former envoy, who has served as Saarc secretary general, said the Fiji visit “was overdue and timely” though the number of Indian diaspora there are small compared to Australia.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Fiji tomorrow (Nov 21). There can be no comparison between India and China and the Chinese ability to dole out money. China has been on a binge in the ability to dole out money to get the South Pacific islands on their side,” he said.

He said that according to some articles, there were a large number of Chinese expatriates living in some of the islands there, but not in Fiji.

Sharma said the South Pacific Island nations are “favourably disposed towards India”.

“Modi met the leaders there, that is another very good diplomatic initiative. It is the first time our prime minister has gone down South for such a long time.”

He said the Myanmar visit emphasised that the government’s policy was “not just ‘Look East’ but ‘Act East’. The two summits were both successful for him. The target for trade for Asean is $100 billion, and we are thinking of bigger investment,” he added.

The Guardian in an article titled “From international pariah to the G20 as political rock star”, described Modi as “one of the most popular figures at this G20. A leader others want to see, and be seen with”.

By Sarkaritel November 21, 2014 11:17