In the short half-year span of his rule, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a turnkey effort to address all pertinent issues, among them a call to the Indian diaspora to engage actively in the development and growth of the nation. Speaking at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (NRI-Non Resident Indians Day), held at the Mahatma Mandir which is in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on Jan. 8, he addressed the 25 million-plus Indians residing in practically every country in the world. Over 4,000 NRIs from 58 countries attended the annual event.
He spoke of the high level of awareness and appreciation these non-resident Indians have raised in the minds of their host countries. He pointed out that more than the affluence and success attained by them, it was the spread of Indian values, culture and morals that made them esteemed members of society.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi was the chief NRI who returned to his home country 100 years ago to drive out colonial rule. He achieved this through the unique tools of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satyagraha (passive resistance). Modi believes the entire world needs to know about the Mahatma’s philosophies, and his teachings bear a universal relevance to this day and have the strength to guide everyone.
He noted that earlier it was the search for opportunities and affluence that took Indians abroad. Today, those same avenues are available in the country due to rapidly changing circumstances. Indians’ status in the world’s vision has changed and a lot is expected in the future. These opportunities can be maximized and mined by the diaspora. Modi stated that NRIs are a valuable capital and asset for the country. A number of measures are being taken to facilitate their participation.
During his short tenure at the helm, Modi has met over 50 world leaders, who have welcomed his office and expressed their desire to partner with India. They recognize the potential of India and are open to embracing it. India has much to offer and must do so with confidence. A case in point was his propounding the ideas and concepts of yoga in the U.N., where a majority of member countries were in favor of sponsoring it.
Modi, calling out to the Indian diaspora, spoke of the NRIs whose hearts are always with their country no matter how far away they earn their living. Events both joyous and tragic which occur in the homeland stir the hearts of its sons and daughters. There is a unique sentiment and strength in meeting and working with their own kind – a vital source of power and energy.
According to a recent study by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Prime Minister Modi is among the top in the list of global leaders on developmental issues. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra said that the PM is being appreciated worldwide for these. He predicts Modi will be the top-rated international leader in 2015.
This confidence is based on the findings of the Japanese market research firm, GMO Research. It places the prime minister at number two among the 30 top-performing world leaders, just behind Chinese president Xi Jinping and before German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
His vision for India’s growth, for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries and for Southeast Asia has resonated with the region and the world. When it comes to his own citizens, Prime Minister Modi is the top global leader, with 87.8 percent approval, according to the Harvard study, which describes him as one of the four leaders who have earned their peoples’ confidence in their handling of both domestic and foreign policies.
With economic development and growth as his top priority, he has proactively taken direct control of a project-monitoring body. This will fast-track $300 billion in investments in manufacturing. Infrastructure, power, steel and coal projects will be accelerated by cutting through a labyrinth of bureaucratic red tape. His “Make in India” and “Know India” campaigns will get a major impetus through these measures.
Immediate effects can be seen in the containment of inflation and the strengthening of the economy. Development activities have begun in all sectors. Over 3,000 foreign companies have pledged investment in the country. On national security fronts, proactive defense and retaliatory measures have been taken against threats and incursions. These achievements have been made possible as the country is now steered forward by a prime minister who is familiar with the issues of poverty and the challenges of life for the common man.
Concluding his address with a quote in the classical language Sanskrit, the PM acknowledged that those who travel abroad and work among the intelligentsia broaden their own scope like a single drop of oil spreads to cover a wide expanse of water. Using the metaphor, Modi called out to the Indian diaspora to contribute to the home country in its progress towards development, growth and success.
By Bina Joseph
Photo by U.S. Dept of Defense – Flickr License
Photo courtesy British High Commission – New Delhi – Flickr License