The handsome olive face framed in brilliant white hair preaches words that make real a vision of sovereign pride. His utterances brings into stark relief that the largest democratic country in the world is a very diverse and old culture. The Chief Minister of Gujarat and proposed new Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi’s agenda are to create a united country. This has traditionally presented an unrealistic feat, one that the most sanctified of mind has found impossible. Yet by all appearances and polls, the majority of India across all demographics embraces his promises. For a very long while, few leaders of his ilk have come this way in India. Crowds young and old, rich and poor from the most humble towns to large urban hubs listen intently to his every declaration. Yet his detractors are many and very vocal.
In articles that resemble poorly crafted movie scripts his opponents wax about his estranged wife, Jashodaben Modi. Perhaps the most egregious and divisive rhetoric is the allegations of his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat Hindu- Muslim massacres. After years of investigation, the courts absolved him. Yet the mood of Indians in this the country’s most important election for generations yells loud and clear for change. Mr. Modi embodies a new chapter waiting to be written in Indian history. One of the roads to the realization of this commitment is the renaissance of India’s infrastructure. The duplication of his success in the creation of an economically vibrant Gujarat is where the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and India’s economic leaders are placing their hopes.
The renewal of public works is a proven means of creating a healthy economy. Not only will it address security issues, new infrastructure connecting India’s vast domains will serve as a means of cultural unity while serving to strengthen its liquidity. A post war America was introduced to a very similar concept. The birth of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 195 ushered in a new period of American global dominance.
On February 1955, the 34th president of the United States Dwight W. Eisenhower argued his case for why an improved national infrastructure was necessary to the well being and success of his country. During the Second World War, it was a lesson learnt from the Nazis. President Eisenhower said in part.
“Our unity as a nation is sustained by free communication of thought and by easy transportation of people and goods. The ceaseless flow of information throughout the Republic is matched by individual and commercial movement over a vast system of interconnected highways criss-crossing the Country and joining at our national borders with friendly neighbors to the north and south.
Together, the uniting forces of our communication and transportation systems are dynamic elements in the very name we bear–United States. Without them, we would be a mere alliance of many separate parts.”
The outcome was the creation of the Interstate Highway System authorized by the United States Congress. It was later coined the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 195 on June 29th. This act also paved the way to the synthesis of the internet.
Many Separate Parts
It is clear that Mr. Narendra Modi’s successful urban renewal of Gujarat has drawn new business, foreign investments and stimulated employment. Business leaders are hoping to recreate this on a national scale. It would mean a structural realignment of political, social and more importantly the economical face to all of India. This is a mighty lift. As sovereign leader, the agenda is for all Indians to own a sense of economic parity. Mr. Modi’s only obscurity is how he will shape India’s role in global foreign policy.
Clearly to become the leader of the world’s largest democracy – one must embody a clear understanding of complexities of global politics. Contending with an ever-reaching China occupying one border and the security issues associated with Pakistan and the Taliban, Mr. Modi’s path is difficult. India is the largest importer of arms on the globe. Its biggest supplier is Russia with the United States coming in second. Although India currently owns the largest military budget ….their military still lacks solidity.
Stephen Cohen, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, at the India Project at Brookings Institution observes that Mr. Modi has an agenda to create in India a top tier global political and economic force. A vision shared during leadership of the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. Under a recent accord, China and India are currently hashing rhetoric for a safe and peaceful sharing of borders. Political observers have noted Mr. Modi’s warming relations with China. This may force a realignment of political partnerships with the United States. Yet China is also looking to the west, in its relationship with Angela Merkel and Germany, for its own sense of economic realignment. Mr. Modi’s foreign relations skills will be tested.
India recently paid Russia, its biggest arms dealer, to supply Afghanistan armies in the wake of the removal of foreign forces. India and China are nervous at the prospect of a reconstitution of the Taliban and other Islamist extremists. This action will aggravate an already often tedious and hostile relationship with their “next-door” neighbor Pakistan.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin may find that meeting India’s request may prove problematic under pending restrictions from NATO. His insurgence into Ukraine has prompted NATO to impose deepening economic sanctions, initially meant to starve financially an already slowing economy.
With a country still holding to its sectarian grief and dynastic politics, Mr. Modi endeavors to lead India into era global leadership. Yet this centrist political leader must learn to assuage the constantly shifting and difficult politically economic dynamic. Like watercolors Asia and the Middle East’s political landscape is “amorphic”. India’s next chief of state will borrow the outcomes of futures base often on a single decision. A progressive India fueled by a changing populace will influence and shift global socio-economics.
A wise Indian leader understands that real wealth lies in its huge human capital. It is the truest measure of India’s GDP.