Why invitation to SAARC countries is Modi’s masterstroke


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23 May 2014

 
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 Why invitation to SAARC countries is Modi’s master stroke

Modi’s initiative to revive SAARC, fallen into disuse, by extending invitations to his swearing-in as the Prime Minister on May 26, pointedly, to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan, alongside Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, the Maldives and Bangladesh, is a typically optimistic and bold move from him.

When they come, even the composition of their delegations will speak volumes. Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksha, for example, is reported to be bringing along Chief Minister from the Northern Province, Sri Lanka that would have been Eelam.

If Nawaz Sharif comes, he will be daring the Pakistani Taliban and other groups that do not want any rapprochement with India, and also he needs the tacit approval of his all-powerful Army/ISI formations. And, if he doesn’t or omits to send a delegation in his place, the Pakistanis will have denied themselves an opportunity in the full glare of international witness. Afghanistan is making new linkages after Obama’s troop pullout, both with India and its friend Iran. And perhaps, tiny Maldives, included for once, will think twice before insulting India the next time the opportunity presents itself.

SAARC nation heads invited for Modi swearing-in

Modi, on his part, is sending a message to both India’s domestic and international audience. It says the NDA is about to form a substantial majority Government for the first time in 30 years, free of the crippling coalition pressures that had this country in its thrall for decades.

Now, Modi can afford to speak out, and is determined to speak clearly to India’s neighbours on matters of bilateral and multilateral interest. The doves with regard to Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been outflanked, and so have the hawks. India is also taking a lead as the largest country in SAARC, a responsibility it has long neglected.

China, the strongest power in Asia, and amongst the top powers in the world, both militarily and economically, our neighbour on many sides is not a part of SAARC; but happily, President Xi is due to be amongst the very first State visitors in June. Modi has been to China five times and has been treated with great respect there, and the Chinese media have welcomed his victory and called him ‘India’s Nixon’ with the great expectations it implies.

But for the moment, if SAARC amounts to anything once more, it will be because Modi has seized the first available moment to make it so. Beyond the token carping from the Tamils in Tamil Nadu, used to getting their way with the weak UPA Government, and the obdurate people who don’t want to deal with Pakistan at all, everyone else thinks it makes a great deal of sense.

The gesture also undercuts and undermines the poison of those who expected Modi to be belligerent with Pakistan without reason, and thanks the Muslims who voted for the BJP. It also demonstrates friendship and goodwill, long missing from our neighbourhood. The Kashmiri separatists, deftly outclassed, were quick to acknowledge the master stroke that cuts the ground from beneath their feet.

Invitation for SAARC nations is ceremonial, not for bilateral talks: Hardeep Puri

The Liberal-Left intellectuals here and abroad are also knocked off course and trying to regroup. And perhaps, the Sri Lankans and Pakistanis will stop hauling off our fishermen. Bangladesh will get its Teesta River Water Accord whether Mamata Banerjee of TMC likes it or not, along with India’s ample thanks for putting a spoke in the wheel of terrorist activity out of Bangladesh.

SAARC, the South Asian block of countries forming a large chunk of the erstwhile British India, even as it excludes Myanmar and the then British Indian administered parts of the Gulf, has fallen on bad days. With the continuous rise of China, even ASEAN, much better configured once, in the era of the ‘Asian Tigers’, is not what it used to be. Trade blocs and regional groupings are subject to such flux throughout history, and revival signals a resurgence of one or more of its constituents afresh.

The G-8, presently truncated to G-7, with the temporary ousting of Putin-ruled Russia, and the more commodious G-20 in which India plays a minor part; BRICS with several of its component countries economically tarnished, are also floundering on a sea of economic woes and competing vested interests.

Almost as irrelevant in today’s world of diplomacy is the hoary Commonwealth. Today, it features obscure Pacific Islanders in a reminder of just how extensively Britannia once ruled the waves, and how it has fallen in stature in what were its more substantial holdings.

But reviving SAARC is a signal to the world that India itself is on a path of growth and revival, ready to shun insularity and shrug off weakness, and do its bit as a regional and global player.


Gautam Mukherjee is an entrepreneur and former corporate executive.

(c) NiTi Digital. Reproduction and/or reposting of this content is strictly prohibited under copyright laws.


 
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  • Ganesh Canaga

    MODI, like our ancestor chanakya, by inviting all SAARC leaders to his swearing in ceremony, had cut in to pieces all calumnious writings by western newspapers and negative portraying by their media by showing a dramatic spectacle of awe and respect of his people for him to the whole world ..this is strategy to say to the world, “see for yourself how I am loved by my people”..That will pierce the TV screen in EUROPE and those bewildered media will wake up to the truth at last..

  • R Prasad

    Modi, by inviting all neighboring countries (SAARC), has cut the Pakistan to its size that all neighbors are eqally treated by India in a reciprocal manner. Those who do business with India will benefit, who don’t will lose.

  • Iaj Tapmas

    I have supported him for the last 10 years, but this is neither called for nor earned. Please perform first, people will then fall at your feet for invitation. This is pure pride, disguised as whatever you want to call it.

  • V.N.Seetharam

    I am an Indian born and brought up in Sri Lanka for the first seventeen years of my life and the place of one’s birth during the formative years of life evokes the deepest sentiment and reverence coupled with all the nostalgic memories of childhood in an island known as Serendipity. Sri Lanka for over two thousand years has been an inalienable limb of our sacred land and our lives with the same cultural and religious heritage are so inexorably mingled and a pilgrimage to the island where Sita was abducted and kept at the Asoka Vana by the otherwise noble and valiant king Ravana, along with the breath taking sites Trincomalee with its ancient Siva temple, Kataragama at the southern tip of the island one of the holiest Murugan Temples in the Saivite pantheon even written about by the Greek historian Ptolemy before Christ, and an innumerable Buddhist sites like Anuradhapura, Polonaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Nagadeep in Jaffna are all so deeply instilled in the blood and psyche of our people.
    Forgetting all these cultural and religious values that unite both countries, for narrow political reasons by the never logical and ever chauvinistic and vulgar Dravidian parties have the audacity to take on Modi for his friendly invitation to president Rajapaksa smacks of monumental stupidity and their usual barbaric passion against any thing of abiding value,truth and beauty.
    Vaiko who was a suspect in the murder of Rajiv Gandhi and who had openly defied the govt by making clandestine and illegal trips to Lanka to frequently carry on the order of one of the world’s deadliest terrorist Prabhkaran now has the nerve to advise Modi on his noble diplomacy!
    It is tragic that Jayalalitha who is a phenomenan and a fearless leader who has decimated the LTTE backing evil Karunanidhi and his fold should fall into the same trap
    and instead of backing Modi on his much lauded efforts is deriding him for even narrower political reasons. She is now the Empress of the Tamil people and one hopes that she understands diplomacy and the compelling reasons for India to maintain neighbourly relations with our closest territory namely Sri Lanka.
    Tamilnadu and it’s politicians are a different breed and refuse to be part of the greater stream that is India. Modi should not care for these rabble rousing Tamil sentiments which are non existent anyway in the present minds of the youths and go ahead following his agenda asking people like Vaiko to shut up.

  • RK

    Modiji is a master strategist and if he has called the SAARC leaders, it is with a purpose. Unfortunately the leaders from Tamil Nadu are shouting hoarse on the invite to Srilankan president.. India has to first take the leadership control of the SAARC and the neighboring regions. Then only we will be able to take control of the individual country. How can you ignore a member or a leader of a member country? This is just a common sense that our friends from the south have to understand. Modi is here to solve the Tamils problem. Patience is the need of the hour.

  • Krish

    If you have supported Modiji for the last 10 years and now you feel what he has done is wrong, then it appears you have not understood this man. Believe me, he is just a genius and will steer this country into to a future where India will shine in all the spheres!

  • Iaj Tapmas

    So make it shine first. I will bow my head to his ingenuity and genius, but make getting your house in order, a priority.

  • Vel

    Rajafckse banned HINDU TAMIL memorials which the Tamils wanted to do for the Death of Relatives on May18th.

    Does Hindu BJP or Hindu Modi agree on this ???

    Seems BJP leaders also follow Rajabuckse methods – NOT Liting Lamps for Dead Relatives….

  • Vel

    Rajafckse banned HINDU TAMIL memorials which the Tamils wanted to do for the Death of Relatives on May18th.

    Does Hindu BJP or Hindu Modi agree on this ???

    Seems BJP leaders also follow Rajabuckse methods – NOT Liting Lamps for Dead Relatives….

  • FPDummy

    We all need to get back to our normal lives and let Modiji performs for the next 6 months to one year for us to start analysis. Too much of daily dose of Modi can go against him.

  • FPDummy

    We all need to get back to our normal lives and let Modiji performs for the next 6 months to one year for us to start analysis. Too much of daily dose of Modi can go against him.

  • Ganesh Canaga

    Understanding by intuition is superior to just judging by external happenings.. our rishis mastered “direct insight” we should be just inheritors of those great RISHIS..even 1% of their intuition is sufficient lol KRISH you have aptly replied to LAJ TAPMAS bravo.
    CONFIDENCE is the basis of all human relationships.

  • Ganesh Canaga

    Understanding by intuition is superior to just judging by external happenings.. our rishis mastered “direct insight” we should be just inheritors of those great RISHIS..even 1% of their intuition is sufficient lol KRISH you have aptly replied to LAJ TAPMAS bravo.
    CONFIDENCE is the basis of all human relationships.

  • The Great Hardy

    You look in hurry…he is yet to take control of PM’s office still his actions are widely discussed. His swearing in event is very imp hence this opportunity to make up with neighbors. This country will never ever get a leader like him. Please take care while reading media news sites, papers & some channels which are hiding, misguiding & creating controversies out of nothing. Keep on reading on NitiCentral. Pl note I have recently started reading on this site. Excellent articles.

  • The Great Hardy

    You look in hurry…he is yet to take control of PM’s office still his actions are widely discussed. His swearing in event is very imp hence this opportunity to make up with neighbors. This country will never ever get a leader like him. Please take care while reading media news sites, papers & some channels which are hiding, misguiding & creating controversies out of nothing. Keep on reading on NitiCentral. Pl note I have recently started reading on this site. Excellent articles.

  • Rajeev

    Mr Mukherjee can you please explain to us laymen as to how being not belligerent with Pakistan is a gesture of thanking Indian Muslims who voted for BJP? That sounds so much like the left-liberal line of argument and is completely devoid of any rationale.

  • Rajeev

    Mr Mukherjee can you please explain to us laymen as to how being not belligerent with Pakistan is a gesture of thanking Indian Muslims who voted for BJP? That sounds so much like the left-liberal line of argument and is completely devoid of any rationale.

  • KS Subramanian

    On this occasion I pray to God to help Modiji with all united, repeat United Indians

  • KS Subramanian

    On this occasion I pray to God to help Modiji with all united, repeat United Indians