Prime Minister Modi has changed India’s destiny

Anurag Singh Thakur
Seven days may be a long time in politics, but eight years is too short a time in a nation’s history. Yet, in this short time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised the global profile of India and restored to the nation, in large measure, its lost pride, prestige and glory as Vishwaguru. As we enter the ninth year of his leadership as Prime Minister, not only will India rise further at home but also in the world. The course of India’s destiny has been firmly set. PM Modi’s ‘India First’ policy – of placing the national interest above conventional geopolitics – has no doubt propelled India’s rise abroad. A deft mix of hard and soft power projection, coupled with a robust demonstration of India’s expertise in technology and its application that will ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution does not pass us by, has added heft to the ‘India First’ policy architecture. PM Modi’s thrust on unabashedly promoting India’s civilisational heritage and its culture has provided it with clout.
Previous Governments have tried to project India’s soft power, but those efforts had a limited impact. Promoting tourism without focusing on tourism-related infrastructure, or restricting India’s many-hued appeal to only one monument, or, worse, showcasing the lowest denominator of popular culture as India’s heritage, restrained India’s rise on the soft power front. PM Modi has brought about a sweeping change in this approach, enlarging the canvas and including complementary elements. For example, Yoga is now a household name around the world, thanks to PM Modi’s initiative in getting the UN to declare June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’ and backing it up with multiple initiatives to popularise this unique civilisational inheritance of India and turning it into a gift to the world from this ancient land.
In the past, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ had become a vacuous slogan, a cliché which had lost its strong moral connotation. Saying the ‘World is one family’ and living this eternal truth anchored in India’s civilisational ethos are two different things. PM Modi has shown that India not only believes in this dictum, distilled from the wisdom of its ancient sages and contained in its ancient texts, but also lives it. Hence, when the developed world showed its reluctance to help others with COVID-19 vaccine, PM Modi stepped forward to help neighbours as well as distant countries. ‘Vaccine Maitri’, in many ways, was India’s finest moment in recent times when we showed to the world that we are different as a nation and as a civilisation; that we do not subscribe to the developed world’s view that ‘the devil take the hind most’.
‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, for PM Modi, is not only about pandemic assistance. India was the first country to reach out with disaster relief when a terrible earthquake struck Nepal, even before other countries in the region stirred themselves into action. At a time when Sri Lanka is going through turbulent times, India has unhesitatingly stepped forward to help tide over the crisis. The world has turned its face away from Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul and the rise of the Taliban. Regardless of the security implications of this momentous event, India has chosen to provide food relief to the people of Afghanistan. In the past, it was India which had gifted Afghans with a Parliament House and built one of Afghanistan’s most important dams.
The list of India living the lofty principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum’, of reinstilling values in how we perceive and engage with the world, is long, just as PM Modi’s vision is vast. For instance, even while placing a restraint on the export of wheat for compelling domestic reasons, India has made it abundantly clear that countries which need wheat will be provided with wheat on a case-to-case basis.  Underlying this decision is the deeply moral view that if the world is one family, food security cannot be for India alone. While other world leaders pay lip service to values and principles, PM Modi ensures values and principles guide India’s engagement with the world.
The story of ‘Digital India’ is too well-known to be recounted. We now host the third largest number of startups and boast of 100 Unicorns. We have one of the finest UPIs which has made digital payments far more popular than in other countries. The world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive was managed and monitored digitally. Digital inclusion has been the cornerstone of PM Modi’s ‘Digital India’ policy. Unlike others, we are willing to share technology. On climate, India has led the way on renewables, especially solar energy, resilient development and green investment, serving as a lighthouse to the reluctant.
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