DC Edit | ‘New India’ faces new set of ‘First World problems’

In the last few years, Indian citizens are increasingly facing an inexplicable set of problems on the foreign affairs front — problems that are a far cry from India’s socialist day narratives of how we are an underdeveloped-to-developing country, a victim of foreign rule and a happy hunting ground of an ominously conspiring “foreign hand”.

The said problems range from Canada, which has accused India of trying to interfere with its elections, almost similar to Russia trying to meddle in the American presidential elections, to Pakistan crying that India was resorting to targeted assassinations on its soil.

For most Indians, for the entire duration of their lives, India has been a victim nation — of terrorists indoctrinated and trained on Pakistani soil as well as incursions and invasions by other countries, including China, not to mention occasional ignominy at the hands of the United States or other Western powers. When its criminals cross the border, be it Dawood Ibrahim or white collar fraudsters, India has remained beholden to the laws of extradition, failing all too often to bring them to trial.

Even on the front of fighting terrorism, after the tragic attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, for instance, India did not retaliate violently but instead played its diplomatic card and lodged its complaint fulfilling all conditions of international law.

Therefore, this accusation by a developed nation, like Canada, that it would even think of or wish to tamper with its elections, or sponsor assassinations of persons inimical to its own interests, comes as a kind of compliment for the government even though it cannot be openly acknowledged.

The change in the perception of India before its own citizens and the world began with Mr Narendra Modi, the first Prime Minister of the country who was born after Independence and hence suffered from no colonial hangover. As a subaltern nobody, he, too, had shared the frustrations of the common man about how India should respond to threats to its sovereignty and society. Almost helplessly, Mr Modi, too, would have wished that the government and its agencies give a strong reply to the enemies of the nation.

It was, however, left to Mr Modi himself to correct the course. First, it was with the surgical strikes across the border, even though those were restricted to terror camps located in PoK. The recent statement by defence minister Rajnath Singh, which hinted at abandoning the close-to-sacred tenet of not crossing the border in hot pursuit when he said that India would not spare terrorists who run away across the border, is another instance of how Mr Modi’s governance has changed India, and in its changed course, India is facing, for the first time since Independence, what can be called “First World problems”.

Post liberalisation, Indians were perhaps puzzled by American delegations coming to our country and its officials openly championing corporate interests, and then defending these back home in the name of jobs they could create in the US. When Sri Lanka or Maldives or Indonesia made allegations that the Indian government was purportedly trying to get business for its top corporates, it was again the power of New India, but also a power that is new to India.

After 75 years of Independence, India is facing a new set of problems. And we can thank Mr Modi for reshaping India so that it has reached that stage in its journey as a republic.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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