The major problem that Narendra Modi confronts today is his inability to shake off the rhetoric that has brought him to power. When you are in opposition, It is one thing to oppose and criticize the incumbent government on every policy and action, and rouse jingoism and promise heaven to the voters, but entirely different thing to act differently and fulfill all the promises made as a part of that rhetoric.
The tall promise of bringing back all black money stashed away in foreign banks within hundred days of coming to power is only one example.
As regards to India’s foreign policy irrespective of which party came to power, India consistently followed policy that has always kept the national interest in focus. Even the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee basically continued the same policy followed by the previous regimes without being excessively rhetoric.
Modi and his party not only opposed the UPA regime’s any attempt to talk with Pakistan, to sign a boarder deal with Bangladesh or to enter into commercial deals with China but also constantly derided such attempts.. But the same Modi had no difficulty in inviting the Prime Ministers of all these countries to attend his swearing- in ceremony and extending hands of friendship to them. It was of course a positive sign.
With such a massive mandate given to him, Modi has now the rare opportunity to initiate bold and pragmatic steps to solve all the outstanding problems with the neighbors If he can not do it now, no government in future can ever even attempt it. That is the real challenge before him.
By: K V Ravindran