Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been under constant criticism by the media and opposition for being out of India often.
Their case is based on the assumption that the country’s Prime Minister should remain in India to administer the country leaving diplomacy to the Ministers and Foreign Ministry officials.
If that is the case, why can’t the Council of Ministers take care of the country through the portfolios allocated to them while the Prime Minister takes part in the global initiatives of his Government.
Let me give a few examples of the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister to engage directly with the Heads of Governments of other countries.
Bangladesh - By directly engaging with Sk Hasina, Prime Minister Modi has cut down both time and red tape in converting a long standing dispute into an agreement. The boundary agreement could not have been reached had he not taken the matter to the person whose consent and agreement was necessary.
In the course of his engagement, he was able to convince Bangladesh to promise that their territory will not be used by those who are enemies of the Indian state. The most recent consequence was the deportation of Anup Chetia, the defiant leader of ULFA. That was the first move and now you have Anup Chetia making a public declaration that he will come to the negotiating table with the State and Central Governments. Besides, the ULFA leader has also declared publicly that he will never take up arms against India.
It is needless to elaborate the spin offs from this. Firstly, Prime Minister Modi has shown to all those who perpetuate crime against India, that they will not escape as foreign governments are ready to assist India. Secondly, peace will remain in the country and in a border state, which is crucial to the nation’s security.
Pakistan – There have been lot of criticism of Prime Minister Modi’s policy towards Pakistan. However, the initiative taken in the last month or so to directly engage with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has taken the wind out of the sails of the Indian opposition. Besides, he has brought the Pakistan Government to a situation where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is taking initiatives directly with India to talk peace.
Prime Minister Modi has ensured that he has the ears of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and both understand each other’s needs.
It must be understood that these initiatives could not have been made by a Foreign Secretary/ Minister or NSA, who would then have to report the discussions to their respective Prime Ministers and all decisions would become lengthy and fraught with disruption. Prime Minister Modi has very correctly engaged with every Government directly with the decision maker to ensure that the move receives favourable and quick solution.