Please do not be shocked by this headline and do not interpret it as an overstatement of praise. I want to remind Indians based on facts. In relation to the comments of those in the media and political leaders, who at one point did not grant entry visa to Narendra Modi, the same country, USA, is now treating Modi as a distinguished guest and honouring him with a state honour. However, records from India and America can confirm that nearly 30 years ago, the US State Department and the American Council of Young Political Leaders had recognized the rising leader of India and cordially invited the dynamic young leader of the RSS and BJP, Narendra Modi, for a special program. In 1994, Modi went to Washington for this program. The US State Department arranged meetings for him with political leaders, senior administrative officials, American policymakers, and people associated with the trade industry. This gave Modi an opportunity to extensively discuss American politics, foreign policy, and international relations, including India. The American government and the Young Leaders Council also arranged for a tour of some other cities and meetings with people from the community.
In 1994, I was the executive editor of Hindustan newspaper in Delhi and before that in 1987, I had visited on the invitation of the American government. So, I had discussions with American officials about the Leaders Council and indeed, I was a bit surprised that Modi was invited instead of several other BJP leaders. Yes, I was aware of Modi’s organizational works and his tenacity in Gujarat. Anyway, everyone should accept that no one would have imagined in 1993-94 that this young leader would become the Prime Minister of the country and a leading figure in the world. Today, due to his experience and deep understanding of international affairs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not only in America, but he is directly communicating with the Prime Ministers or Presidents of other big countries of the world and taking India’s relations and prestige to new heights.
Attention should also be given to the fact that countries like America, Russia, China, Germany, who strategize for the long term, continue to study future political leaders of countries like India and their influence. That’s why they recognized Modi’s capabilities. The American State Department enhances international relations through organizations like the Council of Young Political Leaders. The formation of this institution happened in 1966 and so far, it has connected nearly 8,600 emerging leaders from 129 countries, including India. Not only this, this institution and the State Department send young leaders of America to these countries. This is called an exchange program.
Narendra Modi has been of a wandering nature since his youth. As a promoter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he has constantly travelled to various parts of the country and countries like Nepal. In this process, as a promoter of the Sangh, he also visited the United States in 1993. At that time, as a tourist, he enjoyed having photos taken at the White House, Universal Studios and other major tourist spots in the US with friends. Arrangements were made to stay with Indian families based in America. Due to being a strict vegetarian, there were food problems while traveling outside. Not only that, having only two to three pairs of kurta pajamas made it a bit convenient to stay at someone’s house. However, with a deep understanding of family relations and American society, it is now very convenient for him to connect with the Indian diaspora. Now the number of Indian diaspora in America has been constantly increasing. India’s reputation in the world is also increasing.
This week in America, both sides believe that the high-level discussions and agreements between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden will write a new chapter in India-US relations. The agreements to be made especially for security and economic relations will benefit both countries and international relations. Most countries in the world, including America, are beginning to understand and accept India’s significant role in dealing with terrorism and China’s expansionism.
Since coming to power, Prime Minister Modi has succeeded in delivering a strong response from the army to terrorist attacks from Pakistan and attempts at border incursions by China in the last few years. India’s remarkable efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and assistance from the world has increased India’s importance. Now, with the leadership of the G-20 organization, India’s important role in international politics and the United Nations Organization will be of far-reaching benefit.
The writer is editorial director of ITV Network—India News and Dainik Aaj Samaj.