Narendra Modi stands tall not only in India but across the globe as well.
The last nine years of BJP rule at the Centre has been nothing short of magical acts of performance and achievements. There have been so many achievements of great substance, but we will discuss about the10 most important achievements of the Modi government.
Well, many of us would like to list the most important achievements in their own ways, depending on their own peculiar perceptions and understanding. For me, among the top10 achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, two of them stand out as outstanding performances: The initiative taken in building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, after decades of struggle and legal fights; and the surgical strike on Balakot in Pakistan on Feb 26, 2019, that pitch-forked India’s image as decisive, clear-headed and as a determined nation.
The rest of the top achievements were the government’s successful launch of One-Rank-One-Pension scheme, scrapping of Triple Talaq, the Jan Dhan Yojana under which 15 crore bank accounts were opened and the Swachch Bharat mission. The other crucial achievements of the government are the PM Kisan Yojana and the creation of a special fund for housing schemes for the poorest class.
The Modi government, during the COVID-19 pandemic, won applause from across the globe for its initiatives against the deadly virus by going in for a decisive lockdown, ramping up of the medical infrastructure, thereby making India one of the world’s largest PPE makers. And the PM’s stress of giving free COVID-related help to nearly a hundred poor countries got India high international praise, rarely heard of about any other country.
Balakot strike: In what could be described as India’s sudden and daring airstrike to destroy an enemy camp within Pakistan, the action won India great applause and it became what reports said, “a new power” to be reckoned with. It was on Feb 26, 2019, that the Balakot airstrike was undertaken, and it was a bombing raid conducted by Indian warplanes against a terrorist training camp, a few km away from the Indian borders of J&K. Satellite images were used and it was revealed that the targets were more or less destroyed as per the precise planning.
Soon after the strike, India, confirming the airstrike, said that it was a preemptive strike directed against a terrorist training camp, and causing the deaths of a large number of terrorists. The airstrikes were the first time since the India-Pakistan war of 1971. It is a different issue altogether that Pakistan arranged, on April 10, 2019, 47 days after the airstrike, for a trip of a dozen or more international journalists to visit the Jaba hilltop near Balakot. And it was ‘reported’ that “no evidence of damage or recent rebuilding” were found. What happened was that the Pakistan government took the journalists to a place nearby the actual strike-hit area in Balakot but not to the spot where the terrorists’ camps were destroyed in the Indian airraids.
Ram Mandir issue: The Ram Mandir is being built at the site of Ram Janmabhoomi, the birthplace of Rama, a principal deity of Hindus. The temple construction is being supervised by the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra. The Bhumi pujan ritual was performed on August 5, 2020 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The temple premises will have several other temples dedicated to deities like Hanuman, Surya, Ganesha, Shiva, Durga and Annapurna.
According to the ancient Indian epic, Ramayana, Rama was born in Ayodhya in the 16th century, but when the Mughals invaded and ruled India, they demolished the Ram Temple and constructed a mosque in its place, known as the Babri Masjid. Since then disputes had arisen quite repeatedly, particularly from the 1850s. A new movement to reclaim the site was launched by several Hindu sects in November 1989. In December 1992, the VHP and the Bharatiya Janata Party organised a rally at the site involving 150,000 volunteers, known as ‘kar sevaks’, and the crowd overwhelmed the security forces and pulled down the mosque. And this led to several years of dispute, and ultimately the Supreme Court, in a unanimous 5-bench judgement, on Nov 9, 2019, ruled that the Ram temple could be rebuilt on its original site, but also ordered that the Babri mosque be allowed to be rebuilt on an equal size of land nearby. Since then the Ram temple rebuilding has been happening in a quite hectic way, and it is likely to be fully constructed by January 2024 and made open for public soon after.
India’s dynamic foreign policy: India has stood the test of the dynamic times during the last couple of years as its foreign policy has taken a complete ‘makeover’ in order to meet the present challenges that threaten the global equations. In order that the country does not get left behind in the global diplomatic race, Narendra Modi, through his efficient Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, has reworked the balance of equation with most of the countries that matter in today’s tension-ridden world. As a result, India is today in the limelight not only in the diplomatic circles but among the peoples of the world too. And that gives us a striking example of India’s leading role in world affairs, particularly when nations are in stiff competition to outrival each other.
This kind of need for drastic changes in and out was very specifically addressed by Jaishankar recently. Speaking at the Institute Français Des Relations Internationales (IFRI), Paris, Jaishankar stressed that the world was undergoing a very “profound geopolitical, geo-economic and technological changes.” He wanted that there has to be a “broader consensus that the world is no longer bipolar or uni-polar. The Indian government believes that India’s interests will be best served in a multi-polar world order.”
From non-alignment to multi-alignment, India’s quest is in adopting a strategic system to protect and promote its national interests. Knowing very well that the stormy geopolitics that has come to stay and play all over, India has felt the need for such changes are there all the more. China, Pakistan developments have had great repercussions on India’s foreign policy.
Therefore, in recent years, how to manage an assertive China has been on India’s priority No.1, and yet India’s defense partnership with Russia has continued to ‘bloom’ despite several big countries opposing this kind of equation. Despite many irritating issues, India today has a ‘roaring’ foreign policy and, therefore, good equation with most of the major powers, particularly the US. That is because America understands India’s problems as well as its crucial role in this part of the world.
It is in this context that India has helped a lot of countries, particularly its neighbours, and that has resulted in increased international and regional support and influence. One more achievement in foreign policy was the launch of the South Asian satellite which will help India becoming a superpower. The Prime Minister’s constant touch with world leaders has helped India gain a kind of reputation that many countries are envious of. Modi has an art of handling powerful world leaders and gain their support.
What is clear is that India’s foreign policy may not really follow any of the global geometric designs, and it would better like to take a flexible stand. For some of us, this kind of stand may seem quite a contradiction, but it can’t be denied that whatever the ways and means, India’s foreign policy will be dictated by its national interest.
Rapidly-growing economy: It is a matter of great satisfaction that India’s GDP growth has been among the highest in the world in the last one decade, with a stunning annual growth of between 6-7%. No other significant country, including China and the USA, are anywhere near those figures. The fact that the country is growing so fast is also indicated by the numbers of unicorns the country has, and their rapid growth every year. Today, India, with 138 unicorns, has the third-largest unicorn base in the world. The IMF estimates that India will become the third-largest economy by 2027, accounting for over 4% of the global GDP. All this is the result of the county having gone for free market liberalisation with greater openness in trade and increase investment in infrastructure to a great extent. A lot of economic measures with the PM’s stress on what he calls the “Ease of doing business” has been undertaken. Because of all these efforts, India is likely to be a 5-trillion-dollar economy by 2027, and that will catapult the county to the third economic power position in the world.
So, one can say that looking back over a period of nine years in power, Prime Minister Modi has led his party and the country to great heights because of which India’s voice today carries weight and is heard and respected far and wide. The PM’s ‘Make in India’ narrative has attracted a lot of foreign investors to put up their shops in India, and there is quite a good momentum in this regard. Similarly, India’s G 20 presidency for 2023 has been one of the remarkable feathers in the PM’s cap. No wonder, even the President of America never forgets having a few good words for Modi whenever the occasion arises.
In a recent remark, Italian PM Giorgia Meloni said that Modi was the most loved leader in the world today. Similarly, the US Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, heaped praises on Modi. Gina said that “Modi was the most popular leaders in the world as he is visionary and his level of commitment to the people of India is indescribable. His desire to help his people out of poverty and move India forward as a global power is real and happening.”
It is this kind of praise by world leaders that PM Modi has come up as a rising star on the global arena. What is more, he is said to be the “most favourite” candidate for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. India is, indeed, looking forward to that kind of moment, and be greatly proud of our Prime Minister.
(The author is a New Delhi-based Editor-at-large, columnist and a professional speaker. The views are his own.)