Published: 30th December 2021
Modi's greatest achievement is building a good relationship with Islamic nations: G Parthasarathy
Parthasarathy, along with former Indian Ambassador to the USA Meera Shankar, were in conversation with TNIE's Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla and senior journalist and author Kaveree Bamzai
What has been Narendra Modi's greatest achievement during his seven and a half year-long tenure as Indian Prime Minister? As far as diplomatic relations are concerned, former diplomat Captain G Parthasarathy says that it has been his ability to build an excellent relationship with all Islamic countries in the world, barring Pakistan. Parthasarathy, who served as the Ambassador of India to Myanmar, High Commissioner of India to Australia, High Commissioner of India to Pakistan and High Commissioner of India to Cyprus at various points, along with former Indian Ambassador to the USA Meera Shankar, were in conversation with The New Indian Express' Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla and senior journalist and author Kaveree Bamzai, in an episode of E-Expressions' Platinum Pride series.
"His (Prime Minister Modi's) greatest achievement is building an excellent relationship with all Islamic countries in the world. He has personally good relations with Iranians and the Arab world, especially with the monarchs," said Parthasarathy, adding that this could benefit in building better trade relationships. "We also have a good relationship with Sheikh Hasina. Things with Sri Lanka have been steadily improving since Manmohan Singh's time," he said. Both Parthasarathy and Shankar agreed that India's foreign policy, irrespective of governments has changed according to the requirement of the times and has had continuity.
During the course of the conversation, the duo also touched upon subjects like Pakistan and China and how the countries could potentially affect life for us in India. Pointing out that this is a difficult time for the country, Shankar said, "You have a Russia which has shifted closer to China. You have a China that is tied up with Pakistan for its energy security and access to the gulf and you have an America which is trying to compete with China which may have also left it a bit late. For India, the choices become fairly difficult."
Parthasarathy, on the other hand, said, "Russians treat us equal to China in defence matters. There is a balancing act. Historically, they don't trust the Chinese. They look at them as the successors of Gengiz Khan." He also reminisced about 1971, when Russia had deployed forces on borders with China and had sent a submarine to the Indian ocean.
Adding on the trade relations with China, Shankar said, "India's trade with China is problematic. Until 2002, trade was minimal. then it has grown substantially because we have eased up trade restrictions. The deficit that India has with China keeps growing and has caused de-insustrialisation of India's small and medium sectors." She added, "The economic linkage with the US has been beneficial, while the economic linkage with China has provided cheap goods for the middle class and has had damaging impacts on the economy."