New Delhi, Sep 27 : The BJP is gearing up to organise a major reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he returns after his successful US trip.
The single most take away from the sojourn in diplomatic parlance and its impact on politics is simple – that Prime Minister Modi looks at the country’s foreign policy as a ‘powerful instrument’ that can help him fulfill his vision of a ‘New India’ and transform a developing country to a developed one.
The Prime Minister would certainly get all the due credit for his grand show at Houston and the affirmative bilateral and multi-lateral engagements he had during the last one week with wide range of global leaders including the likes of US President Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani of Iran and top leaders in the Caribbean countries.
However, in all that - one person who probably extended his supportive role to Mr Modi is his External Affairs Minister – Dr S Jaishankar. On June 1 this year – a day after swearing in ceremony of PM Modi and new council of ministers – when Dr Jaishankar was allotted the assignment as a foreign minister of India – it became clearer that Mr Modi was not content India playing a ‘simple balancer’ in the comity of nations.
The Prime Minister wants to make India a 'major global power' - Shreshta Bharat - and obviously the career diplomat-turned-Modi’s pick Jaishankar was ‘expected’ to realise his aim. The on-going US trip of PM Modi along with his select delegation and free hand given to Dr Jaishankar is only a testimony to the fact while Prime Minister works according to prior plans, suave in the art of diplomacy, Dr Jaishankar, is there as a Modi's Man for all Seasons doing the essential spade work.
A key player in the successful conclusion of the US-India civil nuclear deal during Manmohan Singh regime and a former envoy to the US as well as China, Dr Jaishankar just easily fits the hat he wears. In the words of experts, thus Dr Jaishankar is a ‘well placed’ lieutenant of PM Modi who can pragmatically guide India’s foreign policy, navigate through turbulent period of tension with Pakistan, handle trade disputes with the US and also deal with situations in an era when Donald Trump is engaged in trade disputes with China and in nuke programme disputes with Iran.
Dr Jaishankar’s grip over American domestic landscape too has come in handy. Thus, during last week – it became amply clear that Dr Jaishankar thoroughly enjoyed the ‘confidence’ of his Prime Minister and that certainly helped External Affairs Minister articulate his views and interact with key stakeholders.
In all what he did – Dr Jaishankar depicted Modi’s vision of ‘New India’. Sample this – "......we have a problem talking to Terroristan". Dr Jaishankar accused Pakistan of pushing terror into India. "They do it, they kind of pretend they don't do it. They know that that pretense is not serious, but yet they do it. So, how do you address that and I think it's a huge challenge".
Dr Jaiskankar carried forward a lot of bilateral and personal engagements with his counterparts from across the globe. Among others, he held cordial parleys with his counterpart from Singapore Vivian Balakrishnan and there was a personal touch in all that.
"A much-needed coffee break. With just the right companion, FM of Singapore," he tweeted along with snap of both the leaders arranging their beverage.In another missive, he wrote - "Getting to know my new Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi. Expecting to work closely with him on our special relationship".
In Delhi on September 17, Dr Jaishankar did effectively waxed eloquence last week – yet again sharing the mindset of PM Modi – that the media has been inaccurate in not telling the world in as many words that Article 370 was strictly a temporary phenomenon.
"I have very rarely seen a story from anybody that brings out the fact that Article 370 was a temporary provision. In fact, it will be interesting...all of you can google this and see," he has said. In an article in 'Financial Times', Dr Jaishankar wrote earlier this week - "Although the central government spent 10 times more on the average resident of the province than in the rest of the country, that investment did not show up on the ground. Infrastructure projects slowed down amid concerns about irregularities in public finance".
Finally, as Team Modi-2 lags a suave debater and powerful orator in English like Late Arun Jaitley – here Dr Jaishankar could easily fill in the gap. A man with a proven track record and good credibility!
Last one week of India leadership's journey in the US makes it clear that slowly in Indian polity vis-a-vis Modi’s foreign policy, the focus would shift to Dr Jaishankar as Prime Minister would expect him to deliver along with NSA Ajit Doval on boundary issues, ‘discourage' China from supporting Pakistan and obstructing India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and a reformed UN Security Council. (UNI)