Addressing the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on ‘India and the World’ in Chennai on the evening of 18th October 2013, Shri Narendra Modi shared a comprehensive vision on India’s foreign policy and called for making the 21st century as India’s century. He said, “The world has accepted that the next century will be Asia’s but we must make sure that the next century is India’s century. India has to play and will play a major role in world affairs.” Shri Modi affirmed, “Let us work together for a bold India and a better world, a harmonious neighbourhood and a happier world, a strong Asia and a safer world,” and added that he is sure this can happen. Shri Narendra Modi called for reviving the diplomatic legacy of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of safe, confident and productive engagement with the world.
On the occasion Shri Modi released a book by former Union Minister Shri Arun Shourie. Noted journalist Mr. Cho Ramaswamy was present during the programme.
Narendra Modi ji said that the guiding principle for India dealing with the world has been the Mantra of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is a family). “The manner and message of India to the world has to be the message of peace and harmony,” he stated. Shri Modi added that the inspiration for this came not only from our culture but also from Mahatma Gandhi, who gave importance to the moral dimension in the conduct of persons and nations. Modi ji opined that the freedom struggle was not only to free India but was a part of wider anti-colonialism movement. The BJP’s PM candidate stated confidently that India can become an alchemist of the world due to its deep rooted culture and beliefs.
Shri Modi said that in a time when the world is living in insecure conditions, the restraint and balance taught by Indian culture becomes a very important healing power.
During his speech Shri Modi paid rich tributes to the foreign policy vision of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the policy of the NDA government. “Our pillars of foreign policy should be issues of strategy and security. Atal ji showed the way in both Shakti and Shanti,” Shri Modi noted. He gave the example of Atal ji’s political will that gave him the courage to test once again on May 13th 1998 after India had already conducted tests on 11th May 1998 and the world had imposed sanctions on India. At the same time, Shri Modi pointed that Atal ji kept prices under check and remained committed to ‘No First Use’ policy. Lauding Shri Vajpayee’s vision he affirmed, “It shows Atal ji was a Shakti and Shanti Upasak. He could do this because he has the confidence of the nation and the trust of the people.” Modi ji also credited Shri Vajpayee for bringing the issue of terrorism an issue on the world forum, ending decades of Pakistan drawing Kashmir to the global forum. “Due to Atal ji, those who believed in humanity came together. The world was divided into the anti-terrorists and the pro-humanity people,” Modi ji avowed.
Narendra Modi ji took on the flaws in the foreign policy of the UPA and the foreign policy followed by India after Independence. He said the Shri Arun Shourie’s book rightly explains how India is making a mockery of itself with a limited approach. “We became insensitive where we had to be sensitive and we became weak where we had to become strong and the same policy is continuing today,” he opined.
Modi ji went on to ask how can India be in such a pitiable position, adding that the Congress-led UPA is making even efforts to that India in that direction. He questioned the UPA’s flawed policies and silence on issues like the beheading of our soldiers, border incursions, arrest of fishermen etc. “All this is happening because there is no seriousness. Our foreign minister reads the speech of another country and another foreign minister said that he likes Beijing so much that he wants to stay there.” Shri Modi affirmed that this is not a policy but a mockery, which needs to change. Referring to the mismanagement of the UPA in the economic field Shri Modi declared, “Today Rupee is in ICU…I do not know why Tamil people sent this person to Delhi.”
He also rightly pointed out that business and commerce are becoming guiding aspects of foreign policy, nothing that a strong economy will be a driver of an effective foreign policy. Shri Modi also called for strengthening of tourism as an effective way to end terrorism. Modi ji also called for integrating the states in the strengthening of foreign relations with other nations.