With his latest visit being Kenya on 11th of July, PM Narendra Modi reached his 51st foreign trip in his two- year of prime ministerial tenure. As of July, 2016 he has visited 42 countries including USA to follow the UN assembly and other South Asian in context to his foreign and trade policy. A total of 111 days have been spent up in abroad till the date by him. His visits have however attended the biggest media buzz and have drawn several comments ranging from jests and memes to flak. Even if there have billions of eyes popping and tongues speaking at him, claiming him to be an “absentee PM”, it has not ceased to cater a powerful economy. Well, we shall have a further detailed data analysis and our pros and cons regarding it ahead to get a deliberate and lucid vision of his business trips.
OVERVIEW OF THE TRIPS
It has been hard to believe about these all that too for a leader who has barely uttered a word of foreign policy during his election manifesto. But with this dramatic and welcome gesture of inviting the South Asian heads for his swearing-in presaged the first of many foreign policy surprises that Modi would unveil.
In the year 2015, he further traveled 28 countries but the estimated expenditure still continues to be unidentified which is a critical spot for the attacking of opposition.
There are other meetings scheduled too in the year 2016 further apart from the ones mentioned in the table above.
FOREIGN POLICIES DURING MODI GOVERNMENT
While Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi made several foreign trips to foster his business links with major Asian economic powers. This included meeting Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe twice in 2007 and 2012 and building a personal rapport. So we could trace his travels as a result of his visionary ideas.
During the elections, he declared that he desires to inculcate a few of the facilities through his govt’s foreign policy, if elected. Some of them are:
- Resolving China’s potential aggression along the border with India
- Making “illegal immigration” from Bangladesh restricted.
- Improving relations with immediate neighbours as peace and tranquillity in South Asia is essential for realizing his development agenda.
- Significantly he pledged to introduce the concept of Para diplomacy in India where each states and cities would have liberty to forge special relation with countries or federal states or even cities of their interest.
- Bilateral trade going to dominate the relations with most countries except few important global powers with which India shares a strategic partnership.
It was necessary to have an overview of the foreign policy so that we can compare the vision of Modi government and the actual delivery of it to the country.
PROS OF THE INTERNATIONAL TRIPS: WHAT DID IT DELIVER TO US
In a year when Modi zipped around the world but attracted some flak at home for being a ‘tourist’, a few things in his foreign policy went much beyond the measurement of investment billions his people throw around.
- India showed unusual dexterity in utilising a narrow diplomatic window to engage Gulf States.
- His negotiations also implied that if places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Muscat want to become like Singapore, they need to cast off some old ties and wean themselves away from the Islamist source. For which India is a promising harbour.
Apart from aesthetic point of view, our economy has seen some critical (tangible as well intangible) developments. Now using some economical terms such as remittances and dividends, we would see their hike which implies a good sign for the economy. Remittances are the money received from abroad which are not to be included in the GDP of the country but they are a part of personal while dividends refer to the share that the industries keep with themselves to distribute to its shareholders.
All of these count as among the top 20 countries with persons of Indian origin living outside India. They also happen to send a lot of money back home. A staggering $70 billion came to India in 2014, from remittances according to the World Bank. It’s also double the amount of Foreign Direct Investment India received in 2014.
Modi has visited three of the top 10 countries that send money back to India – the US, Canada and Nepal – and is slated to go to a fourth, the United Kingdom,
There have several other achievements too after Modi’s tenure reflected upon by his foreign trips such as:
- Now Barack Obama and China supports India’s bid for permanent UNSC seat.
- Australia is set to sign a Nuclear Power deal with India to supply around 500 tonnes of Uranium to India.
- Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Indra Nooyi (Pepsico), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) discusses possible investments
- Israel inks $5 million deal for Joint Educational Research programme
- $20 billion investment from Xi and his Chinese counterparts
- 2 Billion Euros support from France for sustainable development in India
- Airbus to increase outsourcing in India from 400 million Euros to 2 billion Euros over the next five years.
- French National Railways has agreed to co-finance an execution study for a semi- high speed project on up gradation of the Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph.
- Canada agrees to supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium to India from this year to power Indian atomic reactor.
- Japan and India agree to jointly produce mixed rare earth.
We have eyed at too many pros, we shall now shelve the idea of all the positive things that have undergone and proceed to the cons with all eyes.
CONS OF THE SAME
While the above description may be termed visionary by Credit Rating companies and various trade pundits, the domestic activists and general citizen never cease to term it all as flamboyant. There have been less focus to the domestic issues ongoing and more on the issues worldwide. PM seems to address the country’s situation with utmost callousness and mostly, these issues are addressed by his bhakts out there.
In the last two years, an expenditure of 576 crores have been estimated by virtue of his foreign trips which when compared to other PMs before such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh is surely on a very high note.There are several arguments such as PM acts in a very mechanical way in the home country. Moreover, the expenditure incurred is not being disclosed lucidly but making it a little concealed. Recently a RTI activist Lokesh Batra claimed that he was forced to write to the embassies separately to provide him info about the incurred expenditure but was denied so. There are other misses/ cons too highlighted below:
- Pathankot attack: The attack raised question on Country’s security Level. India craved hard to add the name of MASOOR Azhar, the chief of JeM who is believed to be behind Pathankot attack. China raised objections.
- India -Pak relations : So much of talk and so many meetings, so many gestures but that could not stop dialogue process, neither stopped firing across the LOC.
- Black Money: Government gave 3 months of compliance, but only 644 declarations were made. This was Modi’s major agenda, BRING BACK MONEY.
- GST Bill : Could had been the biggest tax reform, but government was unable to pass GST bill in Rajya Sabha in 2 years.
The main obstacle in development after Modi government came to power is the disrupting peace day by day and the issues of communal violence. A few months ago there was lynching at Dadri for eating beef.
These are the shortcomings of the government but they are not being addressed by him, rather his Bhakts are out there on the crusaders projecting them as the leader of the country. He is also accused to not to incline the laws in favour of the poor but that his laws favour the already uplifted classes.
Trade Pundits also claim that his foreign policy and trade policy do not go hand in hand and also that our trade mandarins have not yet got the memo.
But when these shortcomings are compared to the achievements being made, they seem to appear minutiae. It may seem far- fetched to people at the starting but soon they would be convinced by the visionary approach of PM. Modi government has taken its first step to develop the foreign and trade policy as mentioned in the Budget, 2014 and 2015. Before criticising a government, we must keep the knowledge of all of what he is doing not just seeing in an upper-layered manner. Obviously there are many more important issues to be addressed further but each of the educated us must probe and scrutinize to henceforth make a conclusion ahead, thereby compelling any government to work accordingly in favour of India.