Nowadays, many world leaders are simply terrible at their job. Whether it is a less than satisfactory grasp of economics, a cold heart or even a suppressed hatred of their country and the people in it, it is undeniable that many world leaders lack the skills to do the job they were chosen to do. I think that many of today’s leaders need an example; someone they can look up to and aspire to be like. That example is undoubtedly India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi has only been in power for around six years. Yet, in this short period of time, India has undergone rapid change. Using the talents that make him such a capable politician, Modi has transformed India into a global superpower, and he continues to further India’s position on the world stage.
No one in their right mind can deny that Narendra Modi has been a blessing for India. In just the first four years of his premiership, India’s GDP grew by over 7%. Businesses are investing in India at an increasing rate, raising the standard of living and development and transforming India into a prosperous, industrial nation. His ‘Make in India’ program has seen untold sums of money pour into the Indian economy as more and more foreign companies choose India as a place to invest in. Modi’s focus on manufacturing and exporting is on track to put India on par with the likes of China.
The PM has also invested in making India cleaner through his Swachh Bharat Abhiyan programme, improving Indians’ sanitation and educating the public on matters of hygiene and cleanliness. This included providing a subsidy to allow 110 million toilets to be built. It is not just cleanliness that Modi has been keen on, but tourism too. The industry has really taken off after Modi reformed the Indian Visa system, and focused on promoting India as a first-class tourist destination. This will help boost the economy and provide many jobs. These are but a few things Modi has done to improve his country; his list of domestic achievements goes on and on.
Modi must also be noted for his compassion, a virtue which too many politicians today seem to be lacking in. He was widely criticised by the international press in yet another demonstration of their inability to understand Modi and India as a whole when, in late 2019, he passed the Citizenship Amendment Act. Those who criticised this law had clearly not looked at a map of Asia since the early 1940s. The idea of the act was to make India a place of refuge for persecuted religious minorities fleeing violence in Muslim-majority countries, an idea which anyone with half a brain could recognise as kind and caring.
So what was the issue? Muslims weren’t put on the list of religious minorities that could be granted citizenship if they were an illegal immigrant, because they are the majority in most of India’s neighbours. Take Pakistan, for example, a place where blasphemy (against Islam) is a crime that can warrant the death penalty. This means that if you are aren’t a Muslim and you criticise Islam in Pakistan, the state can kill you for it. Pakistan also has a long record of persecuting religious minorities, many of whom are subjected to violence by Pakistan’s Muslim majority. The law was designed to protect members of religious minorities who had fled Muslim-majority countries. As the majority in those countries, it would be strange if Muslims were added to the list of minorities. Despite the unfair criticism he has received, Modi has held firm. He will not be bullied by Western journalists and ‘progressives’ who have no understanding of the new law or the reasons behind it. India will remain a beacon of hope for minorities.
Modi’s foreign policy successes cannot go unmentioned either. He has improved India’s notoriously frosty relationship with its neighbours, inviting all the heads of the SAARC countries to his swearing-in ceremony as a sign of their friendship. It is clear that Modi believes the best way for India to grow stronger is through working with those countries that border it. Elsewhere in the world, he has been keen to work and trade with other countries. This has become especially noticeable since President Trump took office, as since then trade between the USA and India has increased dramatically. Nonetheless, Modi can be tough when necessary, and, as shown multiple times in many different scenarios, he is not afraid to put his foot down and protect India’s sovereignty. Modi understands that India must work cooperatively and productively with countries around the world, whilst not allowing itself to be walked all over.
Despite the many vicious attacks by foreign press organisations over the years, Modi remains a deeply popular figure in India. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic which is ripping through India, Modi has once again played the role of the strong, decisive leader, almost like a father-figure for a country struggling to contain the virus. A recent poll showed that over 75% of Indians were happy with his handling of the pandemic. I suspect this figure would be much lower in almost any other country.
Politics nowadays has become so divisive and partisan. It is time politicians take a leaf (or several) from Modi’s book, and step up as real leaders. It is time to unite and conquer the coronavirus, not use it as a political ‘tool’. Modi has shown what strong leadership, a good grasp of economics, compassion, and patriotism can do when combined. I wonder when other world leaders will follow suit.