by Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D.
One may call his governing style autocratic, his administrative approach dictatorial or his mannerism abrasive, but no one can fault Narendra Modi for his passion for India and his progressive vision for it. His unlimited energy and enthusiasm to accomplish national goals, and his commitment to solve challenging problems of India like mass poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, etc. are the testament of his reverence and resolve for India.
Instinctively, Narendra Modi has exhibited penchant for handling tough and controversial issues of Indian society. These do not deter him from engaging. This was best exemplified recently by his government passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Right on Marriage) Act, which made Triple Talaq (Divorce) among Indian Muslims illegal. Similarly, the abrogation of Special Provision Article 370 of the Indian Constitution from Indian State of Kashmir in order to protect and fully integrate it into India was politically a sticky matter. But Modi was able to pull it.
Whether his political adversaries like it or not, leadership of Narendra Modi is showing results for Indians. In Modi’s administration, all governmental functions like internal national security, defense, healthcare, education, infrastructural development, scientific research, etc., are centrally monitored by the Prime Minister’s office for meeting project targets. Various public projects are being completed either before or within the allotted time frame. Best example of this are many infrastructural projects involving roads and highways.
Usually, it is the crucible of history that defines the leadership of a political figure after due dissection and analytical processing, but Narendra Modi is proving to be an exception to this rule while still in the office. His abilities and efficacious political skills have been at the display through political and social events in India since Modi’s ascendance to national leadership role in 2014. And if there were any doubts about it, those were answered decisively by the 2019 national election where his party was chosen with overwhelming majority by the Indian electorate, giving Modi an absolute majority in the Indian Parliament – a far cry from the past when BJP or its predecessor Bhartiya Jan Sangh used to have just two seats in this 500-membered national body.
It is this efficiency and confidence in his governing approach that made Narendra Modi to recently announce his goal of making India a 5 Trillion Dollar (nominal GDP) economy by the end of his second Prime Ministerial term in 2024 from 2.97 Trillion in 2019, an ambitious target. Whether such target can be achieved is a matter of debate, but it certainly falls within the realms of possibility by many economists’ estimates.
Besides ambitious, Narendra Modi is also a realist. Realizing that he cannot achieve the economic target of 5 Trillion in five-years without infusion of both foreign and domestic capital into India’s economy. He is, hence, actively engaging foreign countries for investment and joint economic project.
When it comes to international interaction and alliances, not many world leaders can match the credentials and jet setting pace of Narendra Modi. In the span of 3-weeks in August-September, Modi travelled from United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi to promote bilateral trade and receive UAE’s highest Civilian Award, to France to meet leaders like US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron for bilateral projects, to Vladivostok, Russia to meet and sign the 30 Billion Dollar deal with President Vladimir Putin in energy, defense and shipping sectors. Such bilateral international economic activities ultimately create multiplier effect on India’s GDP.
Narendra Modi is both, a secular nationalist as well as a globalist with belief in the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – is a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means “the world is one family”. His secularist credentials were also confirmed in the recent 2019 national elections in India where his party, BJP, was not only supported by Hindu voters but also by significant Muslim population in various part of India.
Finally, Narendra Modi is patriot driven by his inner zeal and ambition to make India a global power in his lifetime. He is likely to be proved a transformative figure on the world stage with ability and political skills to make India a prosperous, progressive and peaceful nation on earth with his effort, dedication and fortitude.
Dr. Chandra Mittal is Professor at Houston Community College, Op-Ed Columnist, and Co-Founder of Indo-American Association, Houston.