Has Modi broken away from Trump and Trumpism?

It is fully conceivable that Modi started realising sooner or later that it will likely be a legal responsibility for India if he’s seen as Trump’s fellow traveller, observes Ambassador M Ok Bhadrakumar.

IMAGE: Supporters of US President Donald J Trump collect on the US Capitol constructing, January 6, 2021. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters


Apropos of the dramatic happenings in Washington, DC, — with President Donald J Trump’s ardent supporters and acolytes ransacking the Capitol on Wednesday — Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted: ‘Distressed to see information about rioting and violence in Washington DC. Orderly and peaceable switch of energy should proceed. The democratic course of can’t be allowed to be subverted by means of illegal protests.’

The cautious wording exhibits that this isn’t a cavalier articulation of non-public opinion, even when it originated from Modi’s tweeter deal with.

The PM is way too skilled a statesman to not know the import of each phrase he tweets or speaks.

The tweet breaks an incredible Indian custom of a number of many years.

There is an unwritten, unstated ‘bipartisan consensus’ in our nation that the maxim of the three clever monkeys within the historic fable must be scrupulously utilized with regards to something related with the United States — ‘see no evil, hear no evil, communicate no evil’.

Modi has thrown down the gauntlet on the Congress occasion.

The timing is important.

According to reviews coming from Colombo, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke up on Wednesday whereas on a go to to Sri Lanka within the presence of his counterpart at a joint press convention on the Tamil drawback and that nation’s proposed constitutional reform in regard of abolishing provincial councils.

Jaishankar spoke slightly abrasively.

Conceivably, Modi’s tweet was on Jaishankar’s recommendation? We won’t ever know.

Jaishankar’s ‘digital’ criticism of the Sri Lankan authorities’s insurance policies was, maybe, a mirrored image of the failure of his mission to Colombo or extra doubtless made with an eye on the forthcoming election (exterior hyperlink) in Tamil Nadu.

But, as compared, Modi has aimed toward one thing really spectacular.

With a single stroke, he has wriggled out of President Trump’s tight embrace of him.

Trump just lately dared to maintain Modi locked in a everlasting embrace by conferring on the latter an award for the meritorious service rendered by the Indian authorities to the US-Indian defining partnership (particularly as a serious shopper of American arms distributors) and Indo-Pacific Strategy, and, after all, in reviving the moribund QUAD platform.

However, Trump’s passion for Modi will hang-out our nationwide pursuits in the course of the forthcoming Joe Biden presidency.

No doubt, it was a Himalayan blunder to have staged the Howdy Modi (Houston) and Namaste Trump (Ahmedabad) spectacles.

The authorities’s flawed evaluation of the state of play in American politics led it to place all of India’s eggs in Trump’s basket.

And it badly uncovered the naivete of the Indian overseas coverage institution.

Therefore, it’s simply as properly Modi determined to mark a sure distance from Trump’s agenda, even when belatedly.

Now, Jaishankar also needs to observe Modi’s instance.

Only yesterday, Jaishankar’s American counterpart Mike Pompeo showered fulsome reward on him by tweeting, ‘The US-India relationship was made all of the stronger with an incredible diplomat and chief as my buddy. Thank you @Jaishankar #HowdyModi #ModiHaitoMumkinHai’

Has Modi broken away from Trump and Trumpism?

IMAGE: An explosion brought on by a police munition is seen whereas Trump’s supporters collect on the US Capitol constructing. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Honestly, did our hug diplomacy, cleaning soap operas and love fest with controversial American politicians serve our nation’s pursuits? Within America itself, folks regard Pompeo with contempt as one of many worst secretaries of state within the historical past of that nation.

On the worldwide stage, Pompeo was a spectacular failure in rallying world opinion behind Trump.

The massive query is, what’s India’s convergence with ‘Trumpism’? Populism? Unbridled nationalism? Bigotry? Racism? Demagoguery?

It is fully conceivable that Modi started realising sooner or later that it will likely be a legal responsibility for India if he’s seen as Trump’s fellow traveller.

Former president Pranab Mukherjee reportedly wrote in his memoirs that Modi was a fast learner in diplomacy.

At any price, it does seem that Modi has taken the primary obtainable alternative to place a distance between himself and ‘Trumpism’.

He seized with alacrity the mayhem in Washington as simply the pretext he wanted for a high-profile decoupling from Trump and Trumpism.

But there’s a flip facet to it.

Modi might also have unwittingly launched an ‘un-Chanakyan’ transparency into US-Indian diplomacy.

For, he implicitly acknowledged that US-Indian bonhomie was by no means actually value-based — that it wasn’t even ‘”transactional’, however is a totally opportunistic enterprise, totally self-centred.

There may very well be a contact of cynicism about all this, however it is not going to be misplaced on Biden and his staff.

Of course, what if the US pays again in the identical coin? Our nationalist authorities will in all probability resent it.

But then, arguably, our double requirements have gotten unsustainable already.

Hopefully, Biden administration will shake off lethargy and level finger on the obnoxious latest ‘love jihad’ laws in Lucknow and Bhopal and demand its repeal.

To my thoughts, each time India lapses again into medieval tradition and slinks away from modernity, the US ought to strongly admonish our ruling elites.

Things have come to such a tragic cross in our nation that India’s salvation more and more appears to lie within the admonition and censoring by the worldwide group.

If anybody could make India’s elites really feel ashamed and make them grasp their middle-class heads in disgrace as regards their bigotry and intolerance and sheer boorishness, it is just the Americans, maybe.

Ambassador M Ok Bhadrakumar served the Indian Foreign Service for greater than 29 years.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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