You might have heard that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi was out on a 5-nation trip, and the opposition and media got into frenzy. In fact, the importance of this trip could not have been highlighted more. The 5-nation tour undertaken by him in the last week covered Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, US and Mexico. Even though the agenda for each of these countries was variegated, the vision of a stronger, global Indian utopia was the underlying thread.
Narendra Modi started his sojourn with Afghanistan, wherein India has been instrumental in developing the infrastructure, helping it rise from the ashes of the wars it had fought. It has forged deep diplomatic and trade relations with Afghanistan and Modi on his recent visit inaugurated the Salma dam too. The rechristening of the dam as the India-Afghanistan dam bears a testimony to India’s active engagement in the development and reconstruction process of Afghanistan. We should be proud of the fact that India is the 5th largest bilateral donor in Afghanistan after the US, the UK, Japan and Germany. Afghanistan joined the SAARC community in 2007 and India stands committed to help Afghanistan integrate into the regional economy of south Asia. India is also conscious of this vision of south Asian integration to create stability, and to counter neighbours if the need arises.
From one oil deficient country - India, to the largest non-OPEC oil producer in the Gulf – Oman. The visit to Oman was India’s entry into the Oman-Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan Ashgabat Agreement, a multimodal deal, for transporting natural gas to the Chabahar Port, and from there, to India via LNG ships or pipelines. It is India's largest supplier of LNG requirements, accounting for 65% of the country's total imports in 2015-16 and also one of India's key sources of crude oil. The visit to Oman was a key success for India’s energy security.
The next stop at Switzerland was to address the NDA poll campaign agenda of black money. India and Switzerland agreed to candid sharing of information to put an end to the veiled tax haven. The new automatic exchange of information will provide access to illicit funds parked in Swiss banks. Also one of the most important outcomes of this visit was the Swiss backing for entry to NSG (Nuclear Supplier group). NSG is an elite club of 48 nations that work together to monitor and control the technology and the materials used to create nuclear weapons. With China opposing India’s entry, it has become imperative for India to seek backing of all other member nations for entry to NSG. United States has already been vocal about its support to India for the same. With Switzerland on its side, it’s another one in the kitty for India.
The NSG membership is not all about nuclear weapons; it is also about the nuclear energy for our energy needs. 40% of India’s power is from fossil fuels. The push for cleaner energy via technology inflow from NSG member nations will help make India energy self-reliant. India’s effort to acquire armed Predator drones from the US would also get a green signal. In recent news, Turkey and Austria, following the US backing, have relented a little and seem willing to provide support for India’s inclusion into the NSG.
The media highlights the expenses, the absenteeism, and the unnecessary bits of Modi’s foreign visits. However, as the Prime Minister, he is an international socialite captivating the world and laying foundations for the golden growth of India.
Title image: News18