Saturday, 29 December 2018

Will Narendra Modi’s Leadership make India a Global Player in World Politics?

Will Narendra Modi’s Leadership make India a Global Player in World Politics?

"Once we decide to do something, we can go miles ahead"
Narendra Modi
Narendra Damodardas Modi is the 15th and current Prime Minister of India who assumed office on 26th May 2014. He is ranked the ninth most powerful man in the world 2018 according to Forbes Magazine. His charismatic and dynamic personality captivated the masses and his skills did not fail to impress other world leaders as well. No matter what the critics say, Modi government has enabled India to acquire the center stage in world politics. The continuous application of Modi’s foreign policy, i.e. the Modi Doctrine, India is climbing the ladder to earn the status of the next superpower. The Prime Minister has spent a significant amount of time in his first year in office improving the quality of India’s engagement with the world. He hasn't made any major policy turnarounds, but his out of the box approach to diplomacy has made all the difference. However, many critics have argued that these trips have done more harm than good. Hence, it is essential to explore both the negatives as well as positives of Modi's leadership.

The countries to be visited are strategically drawn out based on its geopolitics, resources, etc. The first step towards the growth of foreign relations was witnessed when the SAARC countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka were invited to attend Modi's swear in ceremony as India's 15th Prime Minister. Even the quest for improving foreign relations was not a part of Modi's mandate; he has pursued this task emphatically. After assuming office, he took a whirlwind tour of 26 countries followed by Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Tehran in 2016. He has made all the effort to make India's presence felt on the world stage.

Even with rampant poverty and corruption present within the country, there is no denying the fact that the world's largest democracy is poised to earn a superpower status. There are three parts to Modi's plan that support this argument. He aims to transform the economy, infrastructure and exploit its geopolitical advantage:

The first aspect of his plan which involves the economy aims to revamp India's restrictive business regulations and create a free market for the efficient flow of goods and services between boundaries. According to the International Monetary Fund's data, the country has already outpaced Japan as the world's third largest economy in terms of purchasing price parity (PPP). In addition to this, the falling oil prices have ensured that the country will not become a victim of inflation and also enable the country to cut its costly fuel subsidies. Apart from this, the country has attracted a large amount of foreign direct investment that made India the biggest grosser of the same in the first half of 2015. It attracted a foreign investment of over 31 billion dollars. After the launch of the Make in India Initiative in September 2014, the FDI policy for 25 sectors was further liberalized and it increased the FDI flow by 48% as per the 2015 figures. It is estimated that Japan invested a huge fund in both public as well as private sectors due to the presence of a stable interest rate and liberalization of FDI policy to  increase investment caps.

·         The second aspect of Modi's plan is to improve India's national infrastructure, in which he tried to attract a huge foreign fund to ensure its improvement along with the provision for sale of infrastructure bonds to banks. India also attracted a 20 billion infrastructure investment from China. Also, India has realized the potential of its human capital resource and is heavily investing in them to ensure the full utilization of an individual's capabilities. India, being the hub of education and information technology professionals has attracted 16,245 crore in the form of FDI in the computer and hardware sector.
·         The third aspect of Modi's plan is to make use of India's geopolitical advantage. Since his election, Modi has made a concerted effort to strengthen ties with Russia, Japan and the U.S. For each of them, India is a valuable trading partner with a vast consumer base and labor pool waiting to be tapped. But even more significant is the strategic importance of its alliance with all those nations. The countries are the part of a dependency theory of sorts. Modi is being diplomatic; but he is also keeping his options open to forge partnerships that will maximize the benefit to India, both financially and politically.

The Ministry of External Affairs is also praised for its work undertaken by its minister Sushma Swara who has actively made use of various social media platforms to address people's grievances. Even the top executives of leading enterprises like Microsoft, Facebook, Pepsico and Amazon have visited India to discuss their future prospects and growth within the country in terms of technology and other sectors.

However, there are two sides to this argument. Many critics claim that a huge sum of taxes paid by the citizens of the country is going towards financing these trips undertaken by the Prime Minister. It is estimated that around 41.01 crore was spent in 2015 by Narendra Modi. What India needs is a change within the country which will itself attract foreign investment. China can be considered as an example of this doctrine. The Chinese leaders first aimed to improve the country from within which is what India needs to do in order to become a global actor. The Modi Government is very focused on improving its relations with other countries and is distracted from governing the nation.

Another important aspect of governance in any nation is that every leader is seeking personal gains for the growth of their respective nations. Therefore, their investment in India implies that soon they will also demand something in return and the short term positivity received by India from around the world would start taking a reverse path. Evidences suggest that India has made very little progress in terms of improving poverty, education and corruption and hence, there is very little scope for the efficient use of the investments made by foreign countries. It is very probable that India will not perform to its maximum potential in terms of making use of its resources as the issues at the grassroots level is not being addressed.

Therefore, it is true that India is being recognized as an emerging global power with many superpowers lending a helping hand in the form of investments and cultural meets. But it is up to the mechanisms, set in place within the nation that will ensure that India reaches its maximum potential as a nation and makes the maximum use of their resources. It is crucial to recognize that is not just Modi's leadership that will help India to reach the superpower status but also the Cabinet of ministers, bureaucrats, policy formulators, implementers and analysts that will ensure the attainment of the same.



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