PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s trip to the United Nations and the United States can easily be described as a great tour from multiple angles. Not only did the Prime Minister endorsed his comradeship with his equals on a personal level plus in pursuance of national interests. As has been his wont, Mr. Narendra Modi proved himself immensely successful in promoting, protecting and projecting India’s interests and position on all issues -- from climate change to terrorism, and from rule-based world order to value-based realpolitik. By any definition, the 65-hour tour proved to be successful on two major counts -- the endorsement of India’s position, and offering solutions to world issues rather than just describing what the problems were (as other leaders did in their addresses at the United Nations General Assembly -- UNGA). In other words, this trip, too, fell in the same category as his previous ones beyond national boundaries.
The details of Mr. Narendra Modi’s personal meetings with world leaders at Quad Summit and its sidelines, and with the American leaders at the White House held their importance. Multiple dimensions were at work in those meetings when Mr. modi made a well-framed effort to correlate and coordinate Indian position on all mutual issues with aplomb. On those multiple fronts, the Prime Minister upheld India’s position with unique confidence and made a lasting impression on the leaders of Japan and Australia in style. What was of a greater importance for him was establishing a one-on-one connect with United President Mr. Joe Biden and Vice President Mrs. Kamala Harris. In that outing at the White House, Mr. Modi proved to be a practised, consummate hand at personal diplomacy. And that says everything. For, it was essential for India and Mr. Modi to strike a personal equation with the American leaders in the given diplomatic scenario in which a lot of uncertainties dominated the domain. On that count, too, Mr. Modi appears to have broken many a new ground for India.
However, the real essence of the Prime Minister’s foray abroad for the first time after the pandemic’s two waves, came at the United Nations General Assembly. Beyond the narrow understanding of the event by Indian people, Mr. Modi proved to be the real star of the UNGA -- through his forthright statement that did not stop at only describing the problems the world faced, but by offering solutions, suggesting the road ahead, comforting and counseling and consoling the world about the hard decisions it must make to bring terrorism to its knees, or defeating expansionism of a few aggressive countries. And as he asserted all those points, Mr. Modi did not forget to establish the correctness of India’s position in the Asian and the global contexts. In sharp contrast was what Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan did at the UNGA -- trying to spread venom, and standing on wrong assumptions that only proved how flawed was Pakistan’s narrative on all issues. To Mr. Imran Khan’s cantankerous statement, India gave a befitting response -- in the process making the Pakistan Prime Minister look like a juvenile debutant in diplomacy.
The world did not miss the sharp contrast between the Indian leader’s poise and the Pakistani Prime Minister’s senseless shouting on meaningless issues. The response Mr. Narendra Modi generated from various quarters on this tour was simply overwhelming, to say the least. He was certainly not handling easy issues. Much to the contrary, he was a minding a store of problems whose answers the world did not know and was not even trying to find in right earnest. So, Mr. Modi took upon himself the task of reminding the world what the solutions to the problems can be. And his appeal was straight-forward: Stand up and get counted when the world needs to defeat terrorism, expansionism and senseless cleavaging. He also made a specific mention of the United Nations’ inability to offer appropriate solutions in its present form, suggesting thereby an urgent need for reforms. In retrospect, Mr. Modi’s speech appeared to be the statement of an elderly statesman who had seen it all and knew how to approach the issues.