Modi also reasserted the diplomatic stand that India had undertaken during the Vajpayee era, when a big peace initiative was taken by the civilian government of the two countries, only to be sabotaged by former Pakistani Army chief Pervez Musharraf. Modi took on Pakistan but in a language that looks more suitable for an aspiring prime ministerial candidate and not just another opposition leader.
Modi's balanced call on Pakistan is a positive sign
Modi said Vajpayee's diplomacy had compelled the world to focus on global terrorism and also cornered Islamabad on the world stage, but rued that the situation was taken back to square one by the current UPA government. He also said that nobody will benefit from the shadow war going on and it will be more fruitful if the fight against enemies like illiteracy, poverty and superstition were given more emphasis.
He also said that it was expected that Pakistan's newly elected government would lead a departure from anti-Indianism and work towards reconciliation, but the way Indian soldiers are being attacked at the Line of Control, the intentions of the neighbour are not above suspicion.
Modi hasn't been in Oppn while BJP is in Oppn for 9 years now. This will matter
Modi's speech marked a striking difference from the general anti-Pakistan and anti-China slogans that we hear from the opposition circles. But this is about realpolitik. The leadership has to undergo a transformation when it rises to the national stage from the regional and so far, Modi has covered the journey pretty well.
BJP's challenge will be to back Modi's words
But with its face slowly adjusting himself with the realpolitik where reason and not impulse dominate proceedings, it will also depend on the BJP to back Modi on what he says by words and action. Otherwise, the Congress could find a nice gap between Modi and the BJP to thrive on. This is where a responsible opposition matters and the BJP might soon feel the heat for raising reckless slogans and chaos in the Parliament as a mark of opposition to the UPA's policies on issues ranging from foreign direct investment to foreign policy.
BJP may struggle to identify itself with Modi's stand on national and international issues
Anti-Modi voices have often expressed a concern that he might not be good for India, but now one gets a feeling that it could be his own party which could face the actual trouble on how to act from here on.
The reason is: Modi was never an opposition leader and from a state leader, he has gradually pushed himself towards the national leadership, whereas his party has remained in opposition at the national level for almost a decade now. So both will find it difficult to get rid of their old habits. Modi has been critical of the UPA's policies and is expected to abide by the objective laws of statecraft to project himself as an alternative while the BJP is most likely to carry on with its anti-government slogans.
We have three players in the fray: Congress, BJP and Narendra Modi
We have actually three sides playing for pride on the national stage now and they are the Congress, BJP and Narendra Modi. Let's see who finishes the game better.