Modi’s Foreign Junkets – Some Preaching, Some Soliciting
Prime Minister Modi is off again on another of his foreign visits, this time to Germany, France and Canada. In the ten months since he took oath last year, he has already visited 12 countries: Bhutan, Brazil, Nepal, Japan, USA, Myanmar, Australia, Fiji, Nepal, Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka (in that order).
At first sight this list looks rather random – there are the advanced countries like the US, Japan and Australia, with Germany, France and Canada to be visited shortly. Then there are all the small countries, mostly in our neighborhood – Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, and the tiny island states of Fiji, Seychelles and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Modi went to Brazil because the BRICS summit was held there. So, what’s the logic?
If you know Modi this no longer remains a mystery. The destinations are selected by a combination of Modi’s Hindu revivalist foundations and his economic theory for India’s progress. Here’s how this plays out.
Modi spent forty years as an RSS pracharak and so, he is steeped in the delusion that Hinduism is not only the greatest religion but also that the Hindu nation is the teacher and guide for all other nations/religions. But, so goes the theory, Hindus are a divided lot, cowed down and repressed. All they need to do is realize their true spiritual potential and unite with each other – then they will rule the world. In any case, the whole world is one’s own family (vasudhaivakutumbakam), as Modi never fails to repeat. This does not mean a human oneness based on respect for each other’s diversity but a unity based on superiority of Hindu dharma, as interpreted by the RSS.
With this in mind, it is easy to understand that Modi paid a visit to Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Fiji, Seychelles and Mauritius, all countries with a significant Hindu or Buddhist population. He had nothing to offer them except long sermons of India’s greatness. He performed Hindu or Buddhist religious rites in all places at temples. And, as is his wont, he basked in the adulation, imagining himself perhaps as a latter day Swami Vivekananda.
What confirms this Hindutva motivation is the fact that Modi has not visited three of our closest neighbors – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives. Is it because his saffron brand of serminising won’t go down well in these largely Muslim countries?
The other half of Modi’s foreign junkets are for a very practical, hard-nosed objective: soliciting invesments. All the rich countries he visited, and will be visiting in the coming days, are being bamboozled and cajoled and lured into investing in India. They are assured easy pickings – cheap and plentiful labor, ease of doing business, no hassles with bureaucracy and environment, no bribes – in short, an investor’s heaven.
Modi has put all his eggs in the ‘Make in India’ basket – it will solve the employment problem, kickstart economic growth, turn India into an economicpowerhouse and ensure that BJP remains in power for the next 25 years as one sycophantic minister put it. India’s domestic bourgeoisie is unable to cough up the capital needed for building infrastructure or indeed, for building industry. Also, there is no market for industrial goods because the majority of the population has no buying power. Industrial production is lagging terminally, sometimes dipping into negative territory. So, the only hope is foreign capital. Hence Modi’s labor.
All this is a daydream, a mirage produced out of the fevered imagination of Modi’s NRI advisors who find the RSS men’s economic theory a fertile ground on which to sow their seeds of neo-liberal economics.Modi, and his band of khaki followers, on the other hand see a world conquering vision in an economic theory that has failed.
But that doesn’t prevent the yogi Modi to energetically jet around seeking alms and getting feted by NRI’s and Indian diplomats.
Meanwhile, back home in India, the tide turns. Employment was a key promise of the Modi campaign and then subsequently, of his government. But employment creation has now been deferred till foreign investors help out.
Such is the bankruptcy of the BJP that its finance minister claims that the land acquisition bill if passed will create 30 crore new jobs which will all go to the landless. This is the kind of lies being sold to India. Meanwhile, Modi is enjoying the sound of his own voice in Western Europe.