The South Asian Times

22 November 2019 12:17 PM

A strong India under PM Modi is a guarantor of global peace & stability

Dear Mr Editor,
The Economist, London

Apropos the op-ed published by your publication titled “Under Narendra Modi, India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.” 

As a person of Indian origin living in New York for the past several years, I have closely followed the political, economic and social developments in India. The progress made by India in the last five years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unparallel and historic.

Your op-ed is fiction, rather than based on facts. Besides, I believe that by writing such a fictitious article and asking people of India to vote against Modi, is direct interference in India’s election. I demand that The Economic tender an apology and reveal under whose influence it has done so. 

Let’s talk facts now. 

As per the latest figures from all major international financial institutions including the IMF and the World Bank, India under PM Modi has emerged as the world’s fastest growing economy. Not denying that India has a long way to go to achieve a high level of living for the common people, Modi has  laid a strong foundation  in terms of various social security measures, providing health insurance programs to a significantly large segment of the population, making basic necessities like electricity, housing, affordable food, banking and internet accessible to all.

I wish before publishing this one-sided op-ed you looked at the annual Ease of Doing Business report of the World Bank. Can you name one single country of the size of India that has climbed the rankings of Ease of Doing Business as much as India has done in the last five years? And what about the FDI billions that India has attracted under Modi.

Let’s talk about freedom of the press and the baseless and slanderous allegation of Modi being un-democratic and intolerant to criticism. These are relative terms and contextual in nature, but I will point to you how Modi, who was denied visa by Washington, went on as PM to develop India’s strongest-ever relationship with the United States. This is primarily because he strongly believes this is in the best interest of  India, America, and the world. I am sure you must be aware of Nixon-Indira Gandhi relationship and how then India drifted into the Soviet camp, not very democratic by any means. 

If anything Narendra Modi is intolerant to it is corruption and terrorism. 

You can count articles critical of Sonia Gandhi – the most powerful leader of India during the 10 years of UPA regime --  in major Indian publications on your fingertips or at the most list them on a page. But I can show you numerous news articles, op-eds and television shows in major Indian media outlets critical of the policies and views of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Let me bring your attention also to two senior leaders of BJP – Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha – who for the last five years have openly talked against Modi and his policies, and even joined the platforms of opposition leaders. Still, they were never dismissed or expelled from the party. Would you call that intolerance?

Moreover, if an online publication like The Wire with limited resources can run an open campaign against Prime Minister Modi, nothing stops other Indian publications from doing so. India, dear editor,  has a free and vibrant press. Your article tries to say that major publications like The Time of India, The Hindustan Times, India Today and NDTV are scared of Prime Minister Modi. You are wrong. They are publishing what they believe in. You are simply trying to demean the prestige and work ethics of these major Indian publications.

India under Modi has emerged as a strong country which will not get bullied any longer. Doklam is one example. Today, when India talks, the world listens with attention and acts. Look at the standing of Pakistan, the nerve center of terrorism. It’s because of Modi government’s diplomatic efforts that Pakistan is so globally isolated today. Not even after Osama bin Laden was raided. Before Modi came to power, look back at the global opinion towards China’s One Belt One Road. It’s India, under him, which took the lead in telling the world about the predatory economics of China.

Modi’s guiding principle is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family) as reflected in his steps on climate change, solar alliance, International Yoga Day or free satellites to third-world countries. India has merged as a major donor – both in terms of financial and technical know-how. 

I am amazed at the last two paragraphs of your op-ed. India, under the 10 years of UPA rule, were bitter sufferers of a corrupt and inefficient government and you are favoring that group. Your bias is reflected even in the way you have put Congress with capital C and BJP in small letters.

You are not an Indian publication, so what is your interest in asking people of India to vote against BJP. You very well know that the BJP is coming to power. So you are asking Indians to at least vote for a coalition government, which will definitely result in a weaker India.

But the world needs a strong India. In 2019, it’s only Prime Minister Narendra Modi who can lead a strong India. And people of India have already made up their mind. You will see the results on May 23. They will not be influenced by your blatant interference in Indian elections.

Jagdish Sewhani 
New York

Update: 10 May, 2019