Increased investment and growing global influence – Foreign Policy is arguably the best rated subject on PM Modi’s report card.
- PM Modi’s 92-trip international diplomacy is being touted by the BJP in 2019.
- Modi has toured 59 countries in the 5 years since May 2014, twice as many as predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh
- Trips boosted inter-country relations over multiple exchanges of hospitality with China’s Xi, the US’ Trump and Russia’sPutin.
- Increased foreign investment and new oil agreements – were the major coups of Modi’s foreign diplomacy
Narendra Modi’s 5-year term as the Prime Minister of India was a mixed bag of sorts. The BJP government came in with lofty promises of employment, market surplus, indigenous industry and better incomes. But none of those targets seem to be at the crux of BJP’s re-election narrative in 2019.
PM Modi’s international diplomacy, with multiple trips and improved foreign relations has been touted by the party in election rallies. PM Modi’s extrovert persona and amicable relations with world leaders has boosted foreign investment and also the country’s soft power on world stage.
But how fruitful was his extensive travelling to 57 countries as the Prime Minister of India?
More agile than his predecessor
A Prime Minister’s state visits are often a matter of pride and relation boosting for a country. The PM of a poor country with struggling agrarian ecosystem, the cost and time involved in foreign diplomacy has come undercriticism.
Opposition has a number of times accused PM Modi of ignoring domestic issues.
The Modi Hugplomacy
While some of PM Modi’s official trips abroad did not have the desired effects, there were some promising pacts and positive steps towards inter-nation relations.
PM Modi was an active World Leader in a number of summits during his tenure. His state visits to were signaled a transformation in India’ global influence. He was embraced and appreciated by a number of world leaders and has made significant progress in being able to have increased, if not much, leverage in talks.
PM Modi made repeated visits to vital developed allies like Japan and Russia forging amicable relations with Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin. There were return visits to India by these leaders, who are crucial investment and technology suppliers to the country.
Flood of foreign investment
During PM Modi’s term, India received an FDI of around $193 billion – which is 50 percent more than Dr. Singh’s second term. But the FDI drive did not work in favour of the BJP promise of exponential increase in jobs.
Most of the investment went to the services and capital-intensive industries and not labour-intensive manufacturing sector.
Vague pacts without substantial appreciation
PM Modi’s highly publicised state visits and meetings with China President Xi Jinping promised a $20 billion investment in five years of PM Modi’s tenure.
But these commitments and expectations of a more collaborative approach with the strategic rival China hasn’t kicked off a lot of infusion on the ground. As per data from Reserve Bank of India, foreign investment from China during the first four years of PM Modi’s term stood at a marginal $1.5 billion.
Transforming Energy-dependency of India
During PM Modi’s tenure, India for the first time, initiated import of crude and liquefied natural gas from the U.S.
PM Modi has been successful in formulating oil agreements from US to the Russia and the Middle East. A major win was coercing the largest global oil exporter Saudi Aramco to invest in India’s biggest oil refinery.
The opposition has criticized PM Modi for failing to ensure continued access to cheaper Tehran oil. But that is more due to the international pressure in the wake of growing U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Deals that backfired
PM Modi had a successful tenure in foreign diplomacy. But failed deals and ethical lapses have had a negative effect on the NDA government’s foreign report card.
Modi pioneered an Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Israel. The visit crafted out a long-term objective to have a continued defence and water technology transaction with the country. But the agreements have barely borne much fruit on the ground level in his first term.
Similarly, the prospective bullet train was a substantial step in expanding foreign relations with Japan. But issues like land acquisition and lack of jobs has plagued the ambitious modernization project.
The Rafale Disaster
PM Modi during his 2016 visit to France, signed a historic deal for 36 fighter jets worth $8.7 billion with Dassault. The deal led to wide-spread criticism and denunciation – has marred the untouchable aspect of Modi – an honest Prime Minister.
The NDA government has denied any rule violations out alleged kickbacks similar to India’s foreign defense deals in the past. But the opposition has been relentless in pursuing the allegations which stand in much contrast to the Modi-led government’s anti-corruption credentials.
Undeniable rise in India’s Soft Power
Modi’s foreign trips have given a boost to India’s global perception – a rising power with a free market and huge customer potential. Modi addressed World leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore.
Modi also had an informal summit with China President Xi Jinping. The 2018 Wuhan meeting resulted in easinggeo-political differences (the Doklam military standoff) between the two Asian heavyweights.
But there were gaping holes such as the 2015 visit to Pakistan which did not stabilize the deteriorating affairs between the neighbouring nations. Although Modi’s diplomacy has been resonating on the global stage, analysts argue that the many visits were not followed by reforms on the ground level which is a factor why so many visits have been fruitless.
- PM Modi was an active Leader in a number of World Summits during his tenure which fueled a transformation in India’ global influence.
- During PM Modi’s term, India received an FDI of around $193 billion – 50 percent more than Dr. Singh’s second term.
- PM Modi successfully formulated energy partnerships across the globe with US, Russia, the Middle East including investment commitment from Saudi Aramco
- Controversies around Rafale Deal, and China’s unadhered investment commitment may have a negative effect on the NDA government’s foreign report card.