Nurses' return from Iraq: Modi govt's first diplomatic victory

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Modi govt's diplomatic victory
The return of the 46 Indian nurses from Iraq, which is witnessing a serious political turmoil, to India marks the first diplomatic victory of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. The Centre has been praised even by the chief minister of Kerala, a leader from the opposition party. It is certainly a major boost for the Modi government in the realm of foreign policy. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj also deserves a special mention for her relentless effort to bring the Indians stranded in Iraq back. Swaraj even cancelled visit to her parliamentary constituency Bhopal and worked day and night to complete the task in hand.

Indian govt's all-out approach

But how did the Indian government succeed in bringing the nurses back in such a short time? The reason is simple: It focussed on massive back-channel talks at various levels to make sure that its citizens were not left out in the cold. According to well-placed sources, the Indian government spoke to the United States, the autonomous Kurdistan and also countries like Syria, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

In 1999, the NDA govt got IC-814 hostages released but at the cost of 1 life

The Indian establishment made full use of the strong international opinion prevailing against the ISIS which has posed a serious threat to peace and stability in the entire West Asian region and helped in releasing the Indians. The ISIS militants were also put under pressure by the Iraqi forces who have now received military aid from Russia. It was wise for them hence to concentrate more on its defence rather than cause an offensive against India by trapping its citizens.

India's soft power came into play to achieve a hard target

The foreign ministry reasserted the soft power that India is known for internationally to make the mission successful. Swaraj met India's envoys in various Gulf countries and also their representatives in New Delhi and also utilised several non-government contacts. The ultimate result of all these was the release of the nurses. Efforts are now on to release another 39 construction works from Iraq.

NDA II's diplomatic track record better than NDA I

The second NDA government, within one-and-half months of coming to power, has even put up a better foreign policy track record than the first. The government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had faced its biggest diplomatic crisis when an Indian plane was hijacked and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Three terrorists were released to bring back the hostages but even then one life, that of Rupen Katiyal, was lost. This time, the NDA government has carried out a clean mission so far.

Diplomatic success will help both Modi and India

This diplomatic success will not only help Modi establish himself as a statesman who believes in peace, contradictory to what some quarters have always believed. It would also assert India's firmness in international affairs, something which many regret the nation didn't have in recent times.

New Delhi has tougher diplomatic challenges to meet

New Delhi will have more challenges coming up in the coming months in the neighbourhood once the US-led western forces withdraw from Afghanistan. The latest diplomatic success of the Modi government will act as a major boost in this regard. It has already made overtures at its immediate neighbours soon after coming to power. Now, an extension of that friendly policy in the further neighbourhood will certainly help India's cause in the long run.

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