It is only amidst critical hours that the capability will power, patience and presence of the mind of a leader is tested. In fact, the eight months long COVID-19 pandemic as well as China’s multiple intrusions along the Indo-China border or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in April 2020 and consequent on-going standoff between the two armies had indeed created a tense situation in India
It is only amidst critical hours that the capability will power, patience and presence of the mind of a leader is tested. In fact, the eight months long COVID-19 pandemic as well as China’s multiple intrusions along the Indo-China border or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in April 2020 and consequent on-going standoff between the two armies had indeed created a tense situation in India.
But both these challenges continue to be tactically handled by the Indian leadership because a true leader always emerges successful against all odds due to his unwavering self-confidence, faith, honesty, determination, and clear vision to serve the nation as well as the suffering of humanity.
As obvious, that has accorded a distinct identity to the country’s successfully evolving foreign policy as almost the entire world comprising of the superpower, major powers and regional in all continents are extending their full moral as well as material support to India. The other distinct qualities of successful leadership are characterised by self-confidence and firmness yet a considerate humane outlook towards all. Evidently, what a leader once decides, he firmly carries it to its logical end, irrespective of various protests or criticisms. And that manifests into his leadership and the resultant dynamic and vibrant foreign policy of the country.
Managing COVID-19 pandemic
Indeed, COVID-19 pandemic is still a potential challenge in many parts of the country though the recovery rate of the Coronavirus patients is very promising and the number of cases being reported every day is towards decline. Besides ensuring proper management and availability of extra-beds, ventilators, and other life-supporting facilities in the hospitals with a requisite number of doctors and supporting staff, quarantine centres were also established in all over the country to separate the possible infected people from the not-so infected lot to contain the pandemic.
Indeed, imposing of complete lockdown in the entire country did succeed in significantly containing the pandemic in the beginning but that resulted in severe hardships to daily wage earners and many other poor sections of the society. But PM Modi’s appeal to all countrymen to donate to the PM CARES Fund led to a massive outpouring of largesse by corporates and charitable trusts of several temples, besides many other organisations, government employees, and also common people.
Thus the overall proper management to contain the epidemic proved successful otherwise, the situation in India would have been unmanageable due to fast-rising corona cases. Following the true spirit of Vasudev Kutumbakam and reflecting statesmanship, PM Modi extended magnanimous help to not only neighbouring countries in South Asia but also to the US and a few European countries by providing medicines and dispatching the team of Indian doctors.
As regards Indo-China ongoing standoff over the LAC, it is clear that China had encircled India from all directions by engendering multiple intrusions, some in areas like Galwan Valley where there has never been a dispute as regards the actual alignment of the LAC between the two neighbours. Indeed, Beijing had stepped up the ante along the LAC by deliberately indulging in skirmishes with Indian soldiers at Galwan valley, like that in Doklam in 2017, thereby leading to unfortunate martyrdom of the brave Indian soldiers and continuing escalation of tensions between both nations.
Also, Beijing had already thrown it gauntlet around India through its earlier String of Pearls scheme with the active support of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and other littoral countries in the Indian Ocean. Further, China has also captured an area in the Indian Ocean and has also established its air-strip in the PoK. Further, Beijing has also instigated Nepal to seek a claim over India’s Kalapani area including Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh in the state of Uttarakhand, thereby exerting additional pressure upon New Delhi’s national security.
In fact, China continues to browbeat India on the disputed LAC; this time what spurred Beijing appears to be due to New Delhi extending claim over Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by including the climate reports thereon and Aksai Chin into its national weather-reports. In fact, India’s endeavour to claim the entire PoK after the Supreme Court in Pakistan directed the national government to conduct elections in Gilgit-Baltistan had obviously unnerved both Pakistan as well as China. Further, China is also worried because of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative grand strategy, including the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through PoK.
Although the ongoing Indo-China tussle apparently looks like differing perceptions over the LAC between them, the real Chinese intention goes far beyond that to include larger geopolitical landscape, characterized by the mounting China-US tensions. In fact, by continuing the staging of a long standoff over LAC, China wants to use India, as a perfect bet to extract tactical gains over it. But that has misfired and has already led to increasing isolation of Beijing on all global forums due to being the origin of coronavirus, and making consistent efforts to send Chinese message of dominance in the larger context.
Notwithstanding the worrying scenario around the country, the current Indian foreign policy under the leadership of PM Modi has reinvigorated itself to assert in an effective way with a view to protect India’s national interests in an ever sustaining manner.
Thus the visionary leadership of PM Modi is now being recognized in India and in the world and also by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well. Indeed, PM Modi’s continuing efforts to manage the corona pandemic, apart from restraining China’s further intrusions into the Indian territory, have earned him a significant place in the global community of nations, underscoring India’s success story accomplished under his leadership.
(The writer is Professor of Political Science at Rajarshi Tandon Open University, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The views expressed are personal)