Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump’s phone call on Tuesday signalled the beginning of a new era of Indo-US relations. The fact that Trump chose Modi over Russia’s Vladimir Putin, or leaders of other developed countries like France and Germany, shows the importance Trump gives to India as an ally in a new world order he wishes to set up.
Both leaders share similar visions for their respective countries. While Modi’s wants to see India become a developed and powerful nation, Trump aspires to save American money being spent in operations across the world, bring jobs to the country and make the US “great again.” The leaders also share similar sentiments towards one of the world’s biggest problems — Islamic Terrorism.
During his swearing-in ceremony, Trump vowed to remove Islamic Terrorism from the “face of the Earth”. Since May 2014, Modi has been recurringly appealing to leaders of the world to unite against the menace of Islamic Terrorism, fueled by a fake interpretation of a pious religion — that is Islam. Both leaders do not support over activism of international NGOs which often allegedly work against the development agenda of a country. Trump reflected this by attacking “too much environmentalism” on Tuesday, Modi has been doing so since 2014 by taking steps to restrict international NGOs’ activities in India.
Many political commentators talk about Trump and Modi in a similar vein. Commentators, however, are not always right. Both Trump and Modi are distinct personalities, their lifestyles are polar opposites. They are united by their respective visions for their countries. It is probably for the first time in international politics when two global leaders have taken steps to increase friendship while knowing fully that none of them would compromise with the interest of their respective nations.
Better relations with the US would help India in many ways, especially it will keep Pakistan on its toes. The latter may finally find it apt to stop sponsoring terrorism against India from its territory.
President @realDonaldTrump and I agreed to work closely in the coming days to further strengthen our bilateral ties.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 25, 2017
For now, what is more important is whether these leaders will fulfil the promises they have made to their countries and also the world. In Modi’s own word, will they be able to bring “achche din” for the world. A world without terrorism would certainly be a better one. But then “achche din” doesn’t come simply by the wish of a leader.
Modi’s “achche din”‘ promise during the 2014 General Election campaign was a “Chunavi Jumla” (an electoral platitude) — much like Congress’ “Garibi Hatao” call. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” call during his campaign was also one such “jumla.”
Politicians often coin such terms to increase their appeal among voters. The “jumlas” are designed to reflect the party’s intent. But all intents are not always realised in totality. Reason: Democracy is a complex system. Even if a government claims it has realised its intent, the opposition would never vet the former’s claim. Sometimes, people also do not wholeheartedly participate in the process of change the government works to implement. Modi’s demonetisation decision is a recent example in this regard.
There was no question over the intent of demonetisation. Much of the pain caused to people could have been avoided if all sections of society, including political parties, had participated in the change note ban could have brought to the country.
No democracy can work properly if people do not participate. No promises can be fulfilled if everyone does not participate. Still, nothing wrong with hoping for a miracle — “achche din”.