NEW DEHLI — The “Modi Wave” in India represents an era of change, prosperity and development. Modi believes the key to reviving India’s ancient glory and civilizational role lies within strengthening their domestic sphere. The flow towards democracy, therefore encompassing human rights, is a part of the effort to extend the global power of India. “India first” is Modi’s quintessential slogan for progression in the economy, government and global power.
While Modi is a symbol for India’s poor, he believes in the West as a catalyst towards modernity and global prosperity. During Obama’s visit to India in January of 2015, PM Modi offered the following commentary on their relationship: “We will continue to deepen our collaboration in science, technology, innovation, agriculture, health, education and skills. These are central to the future of our two countries; and also give us an opportunity to help others around the world. Indeed, our strategic partnership will only be complete if we assume our responsibility to work together to promote development and connectivity in our vast region. President Obama and I agreed to pursue this goal with a sense of priority.”
Prime Minister Modi is investing in relationships with the West and has developed a special relationship with President Obama. The two leaders discussed various matters pertaining to the development of India and regional security. Policies discussed primarily included terrorism and economic interests.
PM Modi shared his beliefs on terrorism, mirroring a very familiar western discourse when he stated, “Terrorism remains a principal global threat. It is taking on a new character, even as existing challenges persist. We agreed that we need a comprehensive global strategy and approach to combat with it. There should be no distinction between terrorist groups. Every country must fulfill its commitments to eliminate terrorist safe havens and bring terrorists to justice.” The two leaders identified their “natural global partnership” as a necessary means towards advancing peace, stability and prosperity around the world. PM Modi and President Obama identified their plans for co-development and investment in defense forces, maritime security, renewable energy, manufacturing sector and additional commercial interests India’s declining economy as an opportunity for renewed leadership.
According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Indian economy does not have the capacity to accommodate the millions of youth joining the workforce every year. This accounts for Modi’s dedication towards securing economic ties with the West. The timing of the relationship with India is of importance to both India and the United States, for Obama and Modi are interesting in mending the relationship between the countries. Due to tensions between the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York, the Singh government was outraged at the treatment of the diplomat and retaliated with removing certain security measures and perks for American diplomats in India. Although patches of progression exist, the “new” relationship between India and the U.S. is highly strategic for both countries. While Modi could have continued with his Hindu nationalist stance, this approach is not conducive to the progression of India as whole or relationships with the West.
– Neti Gupta
Sources: Wall Street Journal, Carnegie Enodwment for International Peace, Washington Post