PM Modi's external & domestic affairs performance: The difference is between chalk & cheese

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Narendra Modi had scripted history in 2014 to come to power. His decisive victory, first since Rajiv Gandhi's landslide win in 1984, came against the background of a stagnation the previous UPA government had created.

Twenty-one months since Modi assumed office, if one wants to analyse how the story has gone so far, there will be two angles to define it, and both very important.



To sum up in one statement: While Modi has performed impressively in external affairs, his record in the internal affairs has been far from satisfactory. In fact, the difference is like between chalk and cheese.

Modi has done well in foreign affairs

Modi's foreign policy actions took off the day he assumed office when heads of state and representatives from India's neigbours in South Asia, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, attended his swearing-in ceremony.

Since then, Modi made moves in the foreign policy domain that seemed perfect in serving India's interests---be it bringing back the focus on the neighbourhood, reaching out to the US even by inviting its President Barack Obama to the Republic Day programme---something that never happened before, matching China's strategic manouvrings and thinking out-of-the-box ways to break ice with arch-rivals Pakistan.

Evacuating Indians from Iraq,Yemen and Libya were also considered high points in Modi government's diplomacy in the last 21 months.

The new regime under Modi kick-started India's foreign policy orientations, something that former prime minister Manmohan Singh had also understood but couldn't proceed because of obstacles put up by his own party--the Congress. His absorbing addresses to Indians abroad were something that the current generations haven't seen for a long, long time while New Delhi kept on discovering countries, big or small, keeping in mind its own strategic benefits.

The only goof-up that the Modi government might have made in the foreign policy realm was in Nepal in the wake of its newly promulgated constitution last year which saw a psychological gap growing between the two neighbours over India's alleged intervention in Nepal's internal affairs.

But there have been too many lows in domestic affairs

But if Nepal has been a rare low point in Modi's performance in the external affairs, his government's show in internal affairs has been far from satisfactory and just as India has felt more confident in asserting its views in international relations under Modi, internally it is feeling that much under-confident in cementing a strong domestic bond. This is a real paradox but it is true.

Be it on economy or social cohesion, Modi govt is yet to deliver


Initially, the BJP leaders and MPs made pro-majority remarks that don't go with the idea of India and gradually, extreme polarisation started taking shape over incidents like murder of MM Kalburgi in Karnataka and Mohammad Aqhlaq in UP and the spate of returning awards in protest. But things went too far with the back-to-back instances of Rohith Vemula's suicide in a Hyderabad university and the ongoing fiasco in the JNU, the attack on students and journalists outside the court and its snowballing effect across the nation and even internationally.

The PM, though made a statement that he is the country's PM and not just the BJP, but it couldn't control the damage much as his own party leaders and supporters continued to target various social sections-be it students, teachers or Opposition leaders.

Nationalism doesn't deliver at home as it does abroad, especially in times of peace

The problem with the Modi government is that its supporters are trying to pursue the same nationalistic zeal in both foreign and domestic affairs. But while it can pay off in strategic affairs, it will certainly not deliver while handling a country's internal affairs, more so in a complex democracy like India.

The over-enthusiastic right-wing elements have rigidly taken a nationalist stand on the JNU issue while one should have used more administrative skills to handle it. And since nationalism is a blunt weapon during peace, it led to disaster in no time.

Democracy is not just about numbers

A brute majority in Parliament doesn't necessarily make one a natural boss in a democracy. There are more to the numbers in social science which Prime Minister Modi needs to bring under focus fast. Then only can problems that unfolded in Dadri or JNU can be averted.

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