By Binoy Viswam
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US was celebrated by large sections of Indian media controlled by the vested interests of corporate houses. Some of them even went to the extent of claiming that in this 6th visit also Prime Minister Modi has conquered the imagination of the world! This kind of lavish engagement of superlatives may cater to the subjective satisfaction of the users but will not do justice to truth.
The truth is so simple as the PM had yet another visit to the US in connection with the 76th UN General Assembly, where he held several meetings with various leaders of the world. The greatness of any such meetings depends upon the content and outcome of such deliberations. Politically and diplomatically what it has achieved vis-a-vis-the basic interests of the country? Such an objective evaluation points to the bankruptcy of the high-sounding words unbundled by the propaganda hype which has become the cornerstone of governance in Modi’s India.
Before boarding the 4500 crore brand new Air India Boeing, the PM listed his priorities in America during the UN General Assembly session. Pandemic situation, climate change, discussions with the new US leadership, and Quad summit found the top places in the list. Among those important items, the emphasis went to the Quad. Quad is a quadrilateral agreement between India, Japan, Australia, and the US, which is the new and extended form of their strategic partnership. The main thrust being on defense, Quad may be termed as the new version of a military pact of NATO creed. In the post-Cold War world, the US focused on new kind of strategic alliances involving various countries of their choice.
Their prime aim is to cope up with the designs of Pentagon, the US defense headquarters. Whoever may come to sit in the White House, oval office, the interest of the military industry complex is supreme for America. It is the backbone of US economy built upon war and its culture. They were keen to see that arms race will have no end even after the cold War. Even during the severe pandemic crisis, support to pentagon was never forgotten by the US administration. The American enthusiasm behind Quad is to be understood in this background. Due to their own political and defense interests Australia and Japan are always ready to be in the company of US. The eagerness of Narendra Modi government with regard to Quad has to be analyzed in this background. When tensions mount in any part of the world, the question of war and peace also would come to the fore.
The basic human common sense very well knows that in the nuclear age war should not be the answer. In a poverty ridden world resources should not be sacrificed at the altar of war and destruction. The US economy with its major thrust on military manufacturing was never ready to accept this fact. Many a time, the US foreign policy and their strategic partnerships are dictated by the pentagon priorities. By becoming an enthusiastic partner in Quad India is subscribing to policy priorities of the US. Diplomats and strategy analysts are not clear about the benefits that may bring to India. Worsening relations with the neighbors and strengthening ties with the far away partners may not be a wise move for India in her long-time perspective.
Collective fight against the pandemic and climate change could not find serious mention in Prime Minister’s deliberations in US. Of course, they were touched upon with a passive mood. Prime Minister in his own style talked about India’s plans to export vaccines. But he was not concerned abouts the fact that only less than 30 percentage of Indians are totally vaccinated. When climate change haunts human lives in all continents, the commitment in the Paris agreement is still far away. The sufferers are the poor in all environmental disasters in every part if the globe.
The forces of globalization conveniently hide their role behind the alarming growth of global warming. Everyone talks about climate change today. But most of them never touch upon the necessity of a change in the developmental strategy. The world of today warrants a change in the developmental strategy of the world. Science and technology along with human intellect will be able to find the solutions provided the necessary political will takes the lead. India being a major player among the developing countries is expected to play a proactive role to address the gravest issue of the contemporary times. Modi’s address in the UN should have disappointed them.
The propaganda managers and the committed enthusiasts may not be happy to recollect Narendra Modi’s visit to US during the Trump regime. But it still reverberates in the memory of the people. It was during those days, a state visit by the Indian Prime Minister was utilized rather mis utilized for the political electioneering of a foreign country. It was then, Narendra Modi openly declared the victory of Republican party and a second term for Donald Trump. It was the zenith of ‘hugplomacy’ that was marked by many diplomatically immature statements. The Ministry of External Affairs was embarrassed as they were forced to issue clarificatory statements.
They might have been relieved this time that Modi-Biden talks did not produce any such clarification statements! With Vice President Kamala Harris also the talks went well. Both Biden and Kamala must have remembered the extra diplomatic efforts undertaken by the Indian Prime Minister to lure Indian diaspora to Trump camp. In his UN address Prime Minister Narendra Modi impressed upon the greatness of Indian democracy, citing that it could make a tea vendor boy as the nation’s Prime Minister. Crores and crores in India expect him to remember that he was speaking about a chair on which Jawaharlal Nehru was sitting once. (IPA Service)