In India there was a breathless buildup to the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the US. The media reported on the planned ‘red carpet’ welcome, the working dinner at the White House which was the ‘first for a foreign leader’. Much was expected from the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump. The joint media briefing addressed by Trump and Modi turned out to be a love fest. So powerful was the bromance, that for the first time ever Trump put another leader at par with himself. Trump called himself and Modi ‘world leaders of social media’. In one swoop Trump did what Modi and his team have been trying to do - place Modi on the same level as that of a leader of a superpower. Our Prime Minister does have a true friend in the White House.
These two leaders are spearheading social experiments that threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. So it came as no surprise that this joint media briefing was an excursion into platitudes. They tried to outdo the other in recognising the others contribution as a leader. Each trying to validate, support and recognise the others work, putting a lid on the others bubbling cauldron.
But Modi like Trump does like to blow his own trumpet. It was therefore pre-ordained that in his address to the Indian diaspora he would mention the surgical strike and his governments spotless record. On the surgical strike Indian media reported Modi as saying “When India did surgical strikes the world experienced our power and realized that India practices restrain but can show power when needed.” and “No nation questioned India’s surgical strikes”. Modi never shared with his captivated audience whether the strikes reduced the threat of terrorism that we in India face.
He also spoke about the stain free government that he leads. Is greasing the palms of people the only form of corruption? Modi, did not speak about how young minds are being corrupted instead of being ignited. No mention was made about young men being brainwashed into lynching others for their food habits. He chose to ignore the rot within the government that fosters institutionalised efforts to target minorities. Modi failed to mention the unofficial acceptance of half brained pseudo science as proof of this lands glorious ancient culture and scientific achievements.
Having a minister charged under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc. circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) is not exactly unblemished either.
One of the outcomes of the Modi-Trump bromance was their promise to work together to eliminate Islamic extremism and radicalisation. The commitment, totally blindsiding everyone to what their governments are doing to foment these very two things. In the US and in India minorities, not only Muslims, are facing the brunt of their elected governments isolationist and xenophobic policies. How successful can they be in eradicating global radicalisation and terrorism when the right environment is being created to breed it in the US and India.
Modi proudly promised the Indian diaspora that he was going to make India like the US within their lifetime. Going by what Trump is doing to the US and the path Modi and his cohorts have chosen for India he is going to make good on his promise.