Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will finish nine years in office on May 30, has transformed India into a vital player in global affairs, according to political leaders, diplomats, economists, and other specialists.
They say PM Modi is a strong leader who is confident in the presence of some of the world’s most powerful leaders, and who represents a growing economy, the world’s largest population, a nation sought for friendship by the West, and an important geopolitical player opposing an expansionist China.
“India has risen to prominence because of our ability, particularly the Prime Minister’s ability, to collaborate with different leaders and countries,” G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant told NDTV.
PM Modi struck up a friendship with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on his maiden tour outside India’s borders in August 2014. When his buddy was slain in July of last year, PM Modi was terribly devastated. He travelled to Japan to attend his friend’s state funeral.
“Prime Minister Modi began with a great stroke. “He was the first Prime Minister of India to consider inviting South Asia and Mauritius, or close neighbours, to his inauguration,” India’s former ambassador Kishen S Rana said NDTV.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar credited PM Modi with guiding India’s foreign policy agenda.
“…The most significant change has occurred in the relationship with the United States.”
After decades of wariness, India and America are today the closest strategic allies, having completed major fundamental accords that took years for both sides to agree on,” Mr Jaishankar said.
However, developing this partnership has not come at the expense of India’s longstanding ties with Russia, as seen by the conflict in Ukraine.
While preserving connections with Ukraine, India has made it clear that its foreign policy will always be autonomous, which is why Prime Minister Modi told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war, despite Western condemnation.
As India holds the G20 presidency this year, Prime Minister Modi will attempt to bring the West, Russia, and China together to strike an agreement on ending the Ukraine conflict.
In the midst of all of this, maintaining border peace and dealing with the country’s largest geostrategic danger, China, will be a significant task that will require smart diplomacy and a personal touch.