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Modi Diplomacy: Harnessing the Whirlwind!

New Delhi: Today’s diplomacy is so much a tangle of international relations and is inter-twined, one needs to be Ashtabhuj (8 arms with amours) and Shatanan (100 heads) to survive pressures of pleasing all.

As PM Modi embarks on 6-day sojourn towards West this morning, numerous honors await him in the United States of America and Egypt, the treasure of ancient kings, thinkers and statesmen. This essentially is the most testing and tedious test of Narendra Modi and S Jayashankar’s diplomatic skills than any past Prime Minister would have faced in 75 years of Independence. Their skill lies in keeping USA, the No. 1 world Power pleased without displeasing an age-old friend Russia. India will surely sign many deals on defence, industry, space and others keeping aside many for other allies like France, USSR, Japan.

Indo-US diplomatic history: Understanding today’s diplomacy in the context of PM Modi’s visit to US brings us to scan through many pages of history with ups and downs since World War II. India was not a direct player during World War II, so had to carry the British yoke on shoulders, as millions of Indian soldiers were sent to fight for British interests in World War I & II. As India got freedom in 1947, most of Indian policies were formulated with British lenses viz., Commonwealth and NAM memberships kept India at a distance from US, in spite of having World famous leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Dr. S Radhakrishnan at the helm. American leaders wanted India to be with them and even offered UNSC membership.

Indian leaders post-Independence, preferred to follow a Socialist (a watered-down Communist ideology) as also non-Alignment policy, as there were two blocks in the world representing Winner USA-UK-Europe verses USSR-Japan-Eastern Europe.  Post sixties Indo-US relations were influenced by Chinese attack on Indian borders in 1962, Nixon, Henry Kissinger’s, John Galbraith doctrines and 1971 India-Pak war when US took Pakistan side and Russia stood by India leading to a win-win scenario for India. Yet India could not harness its positives to create a higher post for the Nation in international arena.

Recent bonhomie between India’s Nationalist government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi with a couple of US leaders like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden has failed to convert friendly overtures into solid bonds and long-term assets. So, hoping PM Modi’s visit to US to bring spectacular changes in relations is rare. Reasons are obvious; Russia-Ukraine ongoing War, India-China worsening ties due to later’s border manipulations.

Plethora of Blocks and Alliances: As America-China relations were worsening since the advent of Xi Jinping, Russia attacked Ukraine last year leading to alteration of war front and even split situation on China-Taiwan-USA theatre of hot and cold winds. Russia has twin objectives from war with Ukraine; to gather back its broken splinters that formed mighty USSR, as well as keeping NATO two-border away from itself. NATO led by USA, on the other hand, willing to take Ukraine, Finland and Sweden in its fold and weaken Russia-China-North Korea grouping.

Asia today is having several Blocks viz., Shanghai Coop. Organization, QUAD, U2I2; adding to the more powerful NATO, APEC, G-7 and G-20 Blocks, creating a complex scenario. That brings us back to this editorial’s opening line- …..having  Asthbhuj and being Shatanan, to understand diplomacy and fight known-unknown enemies.

As India gains it strength from a decisive leadership, post UPA’s pot-pourie of 10-year rule, Narendra Modi led NDA is attempting to upgrade its position in the world stage; G-20 Presidency, G-7 high level parleys, Blue Water activation thru’ QUAD are some of the fronts which could upstage India and help the nation play an important role in world affairs.

India under Modi-Jaishankar leadership is also perusing its long-cherished dream of joining United Nations Security Council, albeit through its expansion. There are many ifs and buts as many powerful anti-India lobbies have to be dealt with astute and inter-twined diplomacy.

(more later- after tilting the Radar towards New York)

{Images from our archives and credit -‘What it means to be American’}



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