Prime Minister Narendra Modi has travelled across the world in the lats one year since taking charge of the office. He has visited important countries like the United States, China, Japan, France, Germany, Australia and even strategic nations like Nepal, Bhutan, Fiji and Sri Lanka during this time. Africa is the only continent which is yet to be covered by the Indian prime minister and he is scheduled to visit it in 2017. [In pics: Countries PM Modi visited since taking charge?]
If Indian diaspora shaping PM's foreign visits, then why not Gulf?
But why didn't Modi visit a single Gulf country so far? If the visits of the prime minister are conditioned by the 'Indian diaspora' factor, then the Gulf should have been a part of his itinerary by now. India receives a huge part of its international remittance from the Gulf.
Modi was a leader seen with suspicion by the Muslims not long ago
Modi even has another equation to settle through a visit to West Asia. Not long ago, Modi was a leader who was seen with suspicion for what had happened in Gujarat in 2002 when he was the chief minister of that state.
Over 2,000 were killed in pogroms that broke out in the state and most of the victims were Muslims. Modi's image had taken a severe beating but he continued to win election after election till finally storming the national power centre last year.
The Muslims in Gulf were equally apprehensive about Modi after the Gujarat riots and now it is a big opportunity for the leader to turn the clock back. After his successful experimentation with foreign policy world over, winning over hearts in the Muslim-dominated world should also figure in its scheme of things to emerge as a statesman.
Arabs were also worried with Modi's friendly approach towards Israel
The Arabs in West Asia are also worried with Modi's friendly outlook towards Israel and this makes the Indian prime minister's visit to that part of the world all the more necessary to assure the Muslim states that India under him is indeed striving for a global camaraderie.
Time Modi changes the perception: He has been projecting India wherever he is going, he should do the same on Gulf soil
Modi has been projecting Indian nationalism wherever he is going. He has been trying to show India as an emerging global leader and that he would carry with him the entire India and not any particular group as many had feared. It will be ideal for Modi to highlight the same vision at a venue in West Asia as that will do a big favour in bridging the psychological gap between communities.
PM Modi must embrace Muslims across the globe, at least the gesture should be made
Prime Minister Modi must also embrace the Muslims, both home and abroad, to serve an economic purpose. India is the third-largest country in the world in terms of Muslim population and add with that the massive Muslim demographic concentration in the Arab world, the Indian prime minister really has much to conquer for mutual benefits. A robust economic diplomacy with the resource-rich Gulf states can do immense favour to India.
PM Modi must lay down a blue-print before the world for Muslims' uplift in India
PM Modi needs to lay out his plan for the growth of the Muslims back home even if the situation demands so. A comprehensive plan for economic, political and educational uplift of the community that has historically been at a disadvantage will send the right signals across the globe, including the Muslim states, and can prove beneficial for India's fight against terrorism.
Co-operation with West Asia is required for security & fight against terrorism
We all know how West Asia has turned into a hotbed of terrorist outfits and India has a major stake in the ongoing fight against terrorism there for a large number of Indians reside in those affected areas.
Modi govt did a commendable job in evacuating Indians from Iraq & Yemen
The Modi government did a commendable job in evacuating Indians from places like Iraq and Yemen, thanks to some smart back-channel work but how about letting the world know about its true intention of serving Indians all across?
Modi govt has shown that India is not biased towards Israel
As far with Israel and Palestine, India has followed a balanced policy which should assure the Muslims that PM Modi's foreign policy is not biased.
India already has defence cooperation with some of the Gulf countries besides Israel, like the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and many of the Gulf states also helped India by extraditing suspected terrorists to New Delhi. These are positive signs that PM Modi can further develop by paying an early visit to the Gulf world.
India & Gulf have mutual interests to serve
India, as a major emerging economy and home to a huge Muslim population and strategic influence in Asia, is a natural friend that the Gulf states will be looking for. It will also help India to broaden its bridge to West Asia for cultural, economic and security reasons.
Gulf countries have opened themselves more to the world in terms of geo-politics, economy and other aspects of international politics. As the leader of an aspiring global power, the onus lies on PM Modi to make the two ends meet.