Why linking Modi's low marks in IR with his foreign tours is a meaningless exercise

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's educational qualification controversy is refusing to die down. After all the noise over whether his degrees are for real, the latest debate is over the man's marks obtained in International Relations (IR), which is 48, the lowest.

It is surprising to see people attaching this 'weakness' in IR with the fact that he has toured nearly 30 countries so far to strengthen the country's diplomatic ties. Does the score in IR has anything to do with a PM who is focusing to strengthen the country's external affairs?


modi at brics

The problem in Modi's case is that the media has such an affinity to the man that whatever he has done or hasn't done snowballs into an issue.

Even scoring 48 in the post-graduate level takes a lot of hard work

First of all, the score 48 in 100 in a discipline like IR doesn't necessarily suggest that one is weak in that. The problems lies with our obsession with examinations and their results. Yes, 48 is definitely not a earth-shattering number but in the post-graduate level, even scoring 48 in humanities takes a lot of hard work. Perhaps, our lack of respect towards humanities give us an idea that high scores come naturally across all disciplines.

Let's congratulate Modi for the other 60-plus scores and not just point out the 'weakness'

Moreover, if we see the marks in the other seven subjects that Modi studies, he has scored above 60 per cent, which means first class, in all of them. His overall score is 499 out of 800, which has earned him a first class. Let's congratulate him on that first before finding the 'weakest' point.

Academics and politics aren't directly proportional, ask Manmohan Singh

One should also remember that to be academically strong isn't a must-have to be politically successful. Dr Manmohan Singh, the man who Modi succeeded two years ago, is perhaps the biggest example of this theory of 'not necessarily'.

Diplomats and experts engage in foreign policy-making exercise; PM's personal strength or weakness don't matter

Joining Modi's 'weakness' in IR with his foreign tours is another illogical debate. First, a country's external policies are not made in its prime minister's study room and an entire machinery of diplomats and experts are engaged in this exercise. Even if a PM is completely unaware about the existence of a subject called IR, his country will not sit idle in its foreign policy making.

Modi tours the world as India's face, not a weak student of IR

Secondly, Modi's visit to countries across the world are determined by the politico-diplomatic will of promoting the country's interests in the backdrop of the ground realities. If India is represented in corners of the world where it was not seen in over three-four decades under a PM weak in International Relations, one can't complain of inefficiency.

If PM Modi has scored good in any domain in the last 2 years, it's his foreign policy

Even with just 48 marks in his kitty, PM Modi has not ignored the foreign policy and his government put up commendable performance in a number of instances. True, Modi is yet to chalk out a consistent Pakistan policy but even the best student of IR would have struggled to do that because IR's theories do not always guide the post-colonial states in the perfect way.

Modi has stressed on pragmatism in India's international affairs and it is too early now to decide whether he is successful or not. But two years since his taking over the reins, there is no denying that foreign policy is the field where his government has earned the maximum accolades, irrespective of his less than 50 per cent marks in IR.

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