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Why at 77 a new India is becoming the flavour of the world

PM Narendra Modi delivering his Independence Day speech last year

India, after 76 years of Independence, has finally firmly positioned itself not just as a force to reckon with on the world stage, but a voice for the Global South through its soft diplomacy and the adherence to the ethos of strategic autonomy. India’s steady economic growth aided by its foreign policy has now caught the attention of the world. Last year, India surpassed the UK to become the world’s fifth largest economy.

“The new India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays confidence and decides what is best for its own people. Importantly, it has made it clear that it will not be dictated by any other power,” a foreign policy watcher said.

Last year External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar famously said that “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.”

Despite repeated nudging from the West, India refused to condemn Russia for its attack on Ukraine. Simultaneously, its assistance to bankrupt Sri Lanka, spearheading the exercise to resurrect the island nation and continuous support to Afghanistan have given New Delhi an unprecedented edge. In fact, its action stood out after it rushed with necessary aids to the earthquake-hit Turkey earlier this year.

“It is incredible how India has been helping other nations,” a CEO based out of South Korea told India Narrative.

“A large part of the credit has to go to the leadership. Modi with his unique style has managed to bring India on the world map,” he noted.

Among his several high profile visits, Modi, in July, attended the Bastille Day military parade in Paris along with French President Emmanuel Macron as the chief guest. Modi also visited Washington where he addressed the US Congress besides being hosted by American President Joe Biden for a state dinner.

Hong Kong based South China Morning Post said that to just state that the Indian prime minister has found himself in the sweetest of spots is still an understatement. “At the moment, love him or hate him, it’s probably fair to say that he is the world’s most successful politician,” the newspaper said.

It further said that from Moscow to Beijing, and from Paris to Washington, leaders of the East and West have either been busy courting Modi or going out of their way to avoid upsetting New Delhi.

India has also managed to make a mark as the chair of the G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation groups this year.

The Global Leader Approval Ratings released by a US-based consulting firm Morning Consult revealed that Modi with an approval rating of 76 per cent, Modi remains the world’s most popular leader.

Just two years ago, at a time when it was in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic, many pundits had almost written off the India story.

Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi in fact tweeted saying that “India looks a lot like Sri Lanka.” Earlier this year, former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan said that India is dangerously close to Hindu rate of growth.

Also read: Nation gears up for PM Modi’s last Independence Day speech before Lok Sabha polls next year