The popularity of Narendra Modi goes beyond the shores of India! From USA to Australia, from China to Europe, one will always find those who are bowled over by Narendra Modi’s personality and style of work. The success of the Vibrant Gujarat Summits demonstrated the international standing of Narendra Modi as an administrator; over a hundred countries participate in the Summits and the results are for all to see. They brought investment and economic growth to Gujarat. Shri Modi equally captivates the Gujarati diaspora due to the work that has happened in Gujarat. Little wonder that during every Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the most anticipated speaker remains Shri Modi. He remains a widely travelled person, having visited various countries including Australia, China, Japan, Mauritius, Thailand and Uganda.
Within a month of assuming office in October 2001, Narendra Modi was a part of a delegation to Russia led by the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee where he signed a landmark pact with the Governor of Astrakan province.
The relationship between Gujarat and Russia continued to grow in the subsequent years as Chief Minister Modi made more official trips to Russia, even securing vital co-operation in the field of energy.
Narendra Modi was among the Indian leaders who visited Israel as a part of a high-level delegation representing India. Today Gujarat is at the threshold of developing a strong partnership with Israel especially in the fields of human resources, agriculture, water, power and security.
The association between South East Asia and India go back to centuries and continue to be strong even today. Chief Minister Modi has visited South East Asia on numerous occasions. He has visited Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand and these countries have been active participants in various international cultural events in Gujarat including the annual International Kite Flying Festival.
Shri Narendra Modi visiting research and development centre of Huawei Technologiesin Chengdu, during his visit to China in 2011.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi has also opened windows of opportunities for Gujarat by fostering close economic ties with China. He has made 3 official trips to China, the last one being in November 2011. During that trip Narendra Modi was welcomed by the top leadership of China in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an honour usually reserved for Heads of State. His China visits have drawn immense investment for Gujarat including a MoU with Sichuan province and an R&D Centre with the help of Chinese company Huawei.
Shri Narendra Modi engaged in fruitful meetings with top leaders during his visit to Japan in July 2012
The association with the Orient does not end there. Japan is a leading economic partner of Gujarat, including its constant support for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Japan’s help in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which will transform the economic landscape of Gujarat, has also strengthened the relation between Japan and Gujarat. In 2012 Narendra Modi embarked on a historic visit to Japan where he interacted with top Japanese ministers and even met Mr. Shinzo Abe (current Prime Minister of Japan; at that time in the Opposition). Along with Japan, Chief Minister Modi’s visit to South Korea too has delivered fruitful economic and cultural exchange contributing to the overall growth of Gujarat.
Shri Narendra Modi with Mr. Shinzo Abe.
Gujaratis have made significant contribution to the political economy of East Africa and it is but natural for Shri Modi to foster closer ties between Gujarat and East African nations where even today there are Gujaratis in large numbers. He has undertaken a very successful visit to Kenya and Uganda where he received a very warm welcome. The Governments of Kenya and Uganda were extremely impressed by the development of Gujarat under Narendra Modi. In January 2014 the High Commissioner of South Africa met Shri Modi and he was impressed with Shri Modi’s plan to celebrate 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India in 2015 (Gandhi ji returned in 1915 from South Africa).
Shri Narendra Modi with a high-level delegation of South Africa led by High Commissioner F.K. Morule in Jan, 2014
On various occasions, Narendra Modi’s international visits have brought immense happiness on the faces of many Indians. He ensured the return of the ashes of late freedom fighter Shri Shyamji Krishna Varma from Switzerland after over 50 years, after he personally visited Geneva and brought the ashes back.
Shri Modi receiving ashes of Shri Shyamji Krishna Varma at Switzerland in 2003
In 2011, his appeal to the Chinese authorities to speed up the trial of Indian diamond traders languishing in Chinese jails proved to be invaluable as not only was the trial hastened but also some of the traders were able to return home.
Shri Modi was equally strong in questioning the Prime Minister of India and warned him against any deal on Sir Creek, which would harm India’s strategic and economic interests. Even at the world stage when he is rubbing shoulders with top world leaders, its ‘India first’ for Shri Narendra Modi.
Narendra Modi is equally popular in South Asia. In 2011, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on Chief Minister Modi and invited him to address the Chamber on Gujarat’s development. Shri Modi was also presented with a replica of the KCCI building whose foundation stone was laid by none other than Gandhiji back in 1934. Ranil Wickremesinghe, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the leader of Sri Lanka’s United National Party met Shri Modi and even invited Shri Modi to Sri Lanka to speak on the development in Gujarat.
Relations between Gujarat and Europe have been at a historic high under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi. The High Commissioner of Great Britain, the Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden have met Shri Narendra Modi through 2012 and 2013. He has conferred with top European Union Lawmakers as well. The EU lawmakers have lauded the growth in Gujarat during the last decade.
European nations are looking at Gujarat as an attractive destination for opportunities in every sector, be it economic, social or even cultural.
Praise for Narendra Modi’s work has come even from across the Atlantic. In September 2011 a report by the USA Congressional Research Service hailed Shri Modi as the ‘King of Governance’. They added that Gujarat under Chief Minister Modi represented the best example of effective governance and impressive development in India becoming a key driver in India’s economic growth. He was praised for, “streamlining economic processes, removing red tape and curtailing corruption.”
In its issue dated 26th March 2012 TIME, one of the world’s leading news magazines had Narendra Modi on its cover page with a story titled ‘Modi Means Business’. Other Indian public figures who have featured on TIME’s cover include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Acharya Vinoba Bhave. TIME lauded Gujarat’s development in the last decade and termed Narendra Modi Modi as a, “firm, no-nonsense leader who will set the nation on a course of development that might finally put it on par with China.” In 2014 Narendra Modi featured in the Time Magazine list of 100 most influential people across the world.
Brookings Institution, one of USA’s leading think-tank has lauded Gujarat’s decade of development. Its Managing Director William Antholis has written that Narendra Modi is a, “talented and effective political leader” who, “practices what he preaches”. He has further identified Gujarat as a state that has witnessed, “faster growth than almost any place on earth, including most of China.”
In an article titled ‘Modi puts Gujarat Growth on a Fast Track’, leading business newspaper Financial Times lauded the pace of development in Gujarat. FT describes Gujarat as “India’s most investor- friendly state with a double- digit annual growth rate”, adding that the decade of peace in Gujarat has set the tone in enabling all sections of Gujarati society, particularly the youth to dream of a more vibrant tomorrow!
Shri Narendra Modi with a delegation of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (LAC) in June 2013
Equally impressed by Gujarat’s success are the other American nations. In July 2012 Narendra Modi met a top-level delegation consisting of Ambassadors of 7 Latin American and Caribbean countries including Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Dominican Republic. Not only did the envoys praise the development in Gujarat but also expressed desires to explore avenues of cooperation between Gujarat and their respective nations. He gave the idea of setting up Trade Centre, SEZ for wood, timber & marble in Gujarat.
On the morning of 20th May 2012, Narendra Modi addressed a mammoth gathering of NRIs spread across 12 cities of USA through video conferencing as a part of their ‘Gujarat Day’ celebrations. In a comprehensive speech, Shri Modi listed out the various development measures that had taken place in Gujarat and spoke of how all three sectors of the economy were growing in Gujarat. The speech was well received by the NRIs and heard by lakhs of people across the world via satellite, television and the Internet. Shri Modi has since then continued interacting with the Indian diaspora on a very regular basis, the most recent being during the
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014 in New Delhi.
On 13th February 2014 the USA Ambassador to India Ms. Nancy Powell came to Gandhinagar and met Shri Narendra Modi. They two of them discussed a wide range of issues.
These interactions with foreign dignitaries and words of appreciation are examples of Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s immense popularity both within and outside India. From businessmen to common people to world leaders, everyone wishes to engage with Shri Narendra Modi on the manner in which he has transformed Gujarat as the ‘Growth Engine of India’!