New Delhi, Aug. 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has succeeded in removing the feeling of alienation from the Indian diaspora through his visits and addresses. His visits have sent a message that the Prime Minister cared for them and was concerned about their issues.
This was observed by Vijay Chaithaiwale, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trusted lieutenant in the BJP. Chauthaiwale, a Ph D in microbiology from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratories and former Vice President of Torrent Pharmaceuticals, is now head of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) and also heads the foreign policy cell of the party.
In his recent interview to Business Standard Chauthaiwale stated that Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s visist abroad proved to be unifying force for the 28.4 million strong Indian diaspora which has never happened in the past. “The Prime Minister’s every hour is accounted for and for the benefit of the country”, he said adding that this was exactly in contrast as compared to similar visits by his predecessors and leaders of various other political parties.
Chauthaiwale said that Narendra Modi has set up high-level contacts with several countries that were ignored by the earlier regimes for decades. Strategically, the focus of Modi's foreign policy is on the neighbourhood and Pacific Rim countries. Modi is seeking big commitments from his visits to strengthen the economy at home. Massive investment promises from China, Japan and USA can be sighted to prove this point. His latest visit to the UAE and securing investment to the tune of Rs. 4.5 lakh crore is the latest example of this business angle of his foreign visits.
Security of the country is another equally important aspect of Modi’s foreign trips, Chauthaiwale said adding that the India-UAE joint statement denouncing terrorism in every form irrespective of religions and need to curb such ‘curse on humanity’ with firm hand exhibited his concern for national security.
Striking emotional chord with diaspora: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to attract large number of Indian diaspora in countries he visited cutting across the ideological, political and other differences mainly because of his all inclusive approach. His success in securing a promise for a land to build a temple in UAE has sent a message to the Indian diaspora that here is the Prime Minister who cared for them. To have a temple there was a long pending demand of the Indians there and it was resolved during Modi’s visit to UAE. These are small issues, emotive issues but they add substantially to the comfort of the community, Chauthaiwale said.
Another significant gain of these visits is increase in the stature of the Indian diaspora in their own county. In Canada, for example, which would be going to polls in October this year, both the major parties are wooing the Indian diaspora by mixing with them, attending Modi’s functions and participating in the religious ceremonies. This is mainly because they realized the importance of Indian diaspora that could work in their faovour.
Dismissing outright the notion about diaspora getting splintered along religious lines after the BJP’s ascension to power, Chauthaiwale said that exactly the opposite was happening. Citing his travels for the preparations of these events abroad, he said that the organizing committees for such events have people from all the religions, languages and professions. The organizing committee for PM’s visit to Silicon Valley in September this year has people from all linguistic and religious communities as well as techies, businessmen and hoteliers. “Even in UAE we had a substantial number of Muslims in our organizing committee. You must have seen the sizeable presence of Muslims at the event where the PM addressed the diaspora in UAE”, he said.
The Prime Minsiter’s personality is admired by the diaspora going beyond any community, religious or sectoral appeal. People are willing to come together in the name of Prime Minister and this happened only with Modi, he explained. This is because the Prime Minister puts before them a larger goal which makes them forget, though temporarily their differences. This explains the logic behind presence of 50,000 people gathering for Modi’s speech in Dubai at a very short notice of 10 days. More than 100 diaspora organizations participated in the organizing committee meeting in the UAE. “The PM’s visits are becoming a great unifying force for the communities. Whether they can sustain it for a long period is a different issue, but at least there is some momentum now”, he added.
The OFBJP plans to consolidate these gains of the Prime Minister’s visits and soon we would be coming up with programs to achieve this, he added quickly.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit the Bay area (San Francisco) in September. He is expected to spend a day and a half there. This time will be devoted to non-diplomatic events and to the diaspora alone. The star event of this tour will be the address at the SAP Centre in San Jose. Around 18,000 people have already registered for this event. More than 400 organizations have already registered for this event. There is also a plan to have a meeting with the CEOs of all information technology companies.