Modi last week visited Germany, France & Canada as part of his efforts to improve bilateral ties and position Brand India on the global stage.
In France he wrapped up the Rafaeal deal which was cooking for the last 17 years or so. India-France have had historically strong defence ties with India also using French Mirage jets earlier. The deal faced criticism from some quarters alleging the jets are not the best in class and not suitable for our Air Force. This also raises questions about our poor defence R&D and when will be be able to develop indigenous fighter jets ourselves. With the existing fleet of MIG 29s from Russia also facing many problems / accidents, the deal was required to boost our Air Force strength. Further I have not heard any complaints from defence personnel on Rafael deal.
In Germany Modi outlined the vision for India’s economy and development and wooed CEOs to Make in India. He promised a regime of continuous & transparent reforms. You can criticize the govt. for its failures / not doing enough but one thing you have to give it to Modi govt. is that he is working hard to improve the perception of India & Indians amongst the global diaspora. It’s all about perception in the end – stock markets, commodity prices are all impacted by perception / sentiment. In organizations employees are rewarded not only for hard work but also the perception amongst top management that they work hard.
Modi govt. has adopted a corporate approach. Modi is the CEO of the country. He is marketing India among investors / rating agencies / analysts. Rating agencies have already upgraded the outlook on India’s ratings again not only because of impact of lowering crude prices on economy but also because of perception. He has led to creation of an aura of optimism on India. With Chinese economy slowing down the whole world is looking upto India to revive world growth and be the savior. IMF predicts India will grow at 7.5% in 2015, highest in the world.
He also pitched for India’s permanent seat in the Security Council and said that it is India’s right and it won’t beg for it anymore. If he manages to get us a seat in UN it will be one of his biggest achievements.
In Canada, Modi govt. sealed a uranium deal which will improve nuclear co-operation between two countries. This will help India’s nuclear power generation efforts and help solve India’s power shortage issues.
In all these countries he received a rockstar reception. In his usual style he addressed Indian population in all these countries. His speeches were lapped up and applauded. We all know he is a darling of NRI crowds. In these speeches he usually ridicules the previous Congress govt. He should realize that these are not election campaign speeches. He has already become PM. Elections are over. So focus on what he has done and what he wants to do. That would be better I feel. It also paints a wrong picture of India globally quite contrary to what he is trying to build. Perhaps he is targeting these voters for next round of elections in 2019 by which time Election Commission is expected to allow NRIs to vote.
His ridiculing previous Congress govt. have made them jittery. Congress which after return of Rahul has got the much needed vitamin announced that they will trail PM on all visits and debunk his claims. Gosh! What a joke! If they are serious it will really hurt India’s image. Congress is peeved about the fact that Modi mentioned that an Indian PM visited Canada after 42 years. Congress claims MMS visited Canada in 2010 for a summit. BJP hit back saying they were talking of bilateral visits. Modi is famous for making statements with a star terms & conditions in font 6 which nobody can read.
Congress is also angry that he mentioned previous govt. had created a lot of shit and it will take time to cleanse it. Congress step of trailing PM is foolish. Modi made same allegations in Lok Sabha campaigns and Congress failed to convince people his claims were untrue. Modi won a landslide victory. If local people failed to get Congress viewpoint how can Congress spokespersons convince international audience that what Modi is saying is untrue.
All in all Modi trip was eventful – Rafael Deal, Uranium Deal and Wooing of German investors. More importantly it helped to improve image / perception / sentiment of Brand India. He needs to differentiate these govt. trips with image building exercise of BJP though. After all he is PM of India and not only BJP……