Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be combative vis a vis his domestic rivals on foreign soil, exemplified by his snide remark in Shanghai on Saturday that “I am finishing work not done in past 30 years.”
On the third and last leg of his China trip in Shanghai he threw barbs at the opposition for criticizing him over his frequent trips and remarked thus: "For the last one year, I have not taken even one day's leave. I have worked day and night. Did I go on any vacation? Do I take rest? Am I not implementing my promise?"
This was an obvious dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who recently returned after his mysterious 56-day sabbatical. There is no clarity till now either from Rahul himself or the Congress party where he was during those 56 days.
It is a dangerous tactic employed by PM Modi. He has repeatedly brought in domestic politics on foreign soil and tried to score brownie points over the opposition during his foreign trips.
It is not only politically immature and irresponsible but also a dangerous political ploy which puts India in poor light. Modi has riled his domestic rivals on his previous foreign tours too, notable examples being his trips to the United States and Japan and his most recent three-nation trip to France, Germany and Canada.
Modi must realize that the elections are long over. It's been a year since he became Prime Minister but he continues to be in the election mode, not only on his domestic trips but also during his official foreign tours, which are far more frequent than any of his predecessors.
More importantly, he must understand that his foreign trips are laden with issues of immense strategic, political and economic importance for the country as a whole. He is simply playing into the hands of the opposition by taking on domestic rivals on foreign soil. This dilutes the focus of his foreign trips.
A country’s head of government must also serve as the country’s top diplomat.
We are living in times when presidents and prime ministers across the world appear like glorified salesmen trotting the globe for seeking more jobs, investments, business and economic opportunities for their countries.
PM Modi is simply doing his job by touring different parts of the globe and it should go to his credit that he has toured 16 countries already even before completing his first year in office.
He is unnecessarily allowing himself to be distracted by an increasingly vocal opposition over his numerous foreign trips. He is choosing to get even with the opposition without realizing that he needs to exercise utmost restraint and hold his horses during foreign trips.
In the process he is projecting himself as a short-sighted, narrow-minded politician keen on punching the opposition anywhere and everywhere. He needs to take cue from other world leaders and see their conduct towards their domestic rivals during their official foreign tours.
The Congress reaction to Modi’s Shanghai remark was expectedly fast and furious. However, the Congress reaction came from New Delhi and not from China.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala lambasted Modi for what he called “verbal character assassination of India’s achievements of last 67 years on foreign soil” from Canada to China and accused him of lowering the dignity of the high office of Prime Minister.
This is what Surjewala said: “After one year of being in Government, Prime Minister's obsession to target opposition and its leaders repeatedly on foreign soil is deplorable and unacceptable. His understanding of the fact that India, until he became Prime Minister, did not enjoy any respect amongst the international community is misplaced and is an insult to Indian generations gone by…Before elections he had challenged the Congress to show ‘red eyes’ to China while talking to them. As he leaves China today, we wonder whether he spoke to Chinese showing his ‘red eyes’ on issues of Chinese government giving stapled visas to people of Arunachal Pradesh while he extends e-visas facility to Chinese nationals, CCTV (Chinese official media) depicting Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of China as also large portion of State of J&K as part of Pakistan, continuous and repeated Chinese incursions into Indian territory, construction of dams on the upstream of River Brahmaputra, nearly $46 billions of committed investment by China in Pakistan including Pakistan in Occupied Kashmir and a nearly $40 billion trade imbalance between India and China.”
By making puerile remarks on his political rivals from foreign soil, PM Modi is unnecessarily shifting the narrative of his significant foreign trips. He needs to exorcise the ghost of his Congress obsession during these visits.
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Updated Date: May 18, 2015 07:13:00 IST