The photograph of both the Prime Ministers -- Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu -- with folded trousers and chit-chat in ankle deep Mediterranean Sea water and a toast to life with desalinated water made waves in the social networking sites and mainstream media. "Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi brought a whole new definition to "chilling out" after wading in the Mediterranean Sea," reported CNN.
One such snap was also autographed by Benjamin Netanyahu, who wrote: "To Prime Minister Narendra Modi with deepest friendship on your historic visit".
Does this reflect change in Indian foreign policy? Certainly, opinions can be divided. But most striking aspect of this 'let us agree to disagree' came from Rahul Gandhi -- when he rather hurriedly tweeted that his political bete noire Modi was being a "weak Prime Minister" because he did not raise the visa row issue with the American President Donald Trump. Well, it was expected visa row would be raised. Similarly, on the other side -- many expected Trump will raise the issue of supposed violent atmosphere against minorities - including Christians - in India. So going by the 'intelligent theory' of an "inborn PM-material" even Trump could be weak!
One need not emphasise that diplomacy may not be the way - the Congress party or Rahul Gandhi's full-timer advisers look at. Both sides may handle uncomfortable issues though back channels.
The desperation is palpable. The Congress party, India's sickular gang and politically correct liberals as also the part-time politcian Rahul Gandhi may be huffing and puffing but these practitioners of holier than though theories desperate to make a mark is only realising that Namo remains invincible as now as the average Indian voters may be still pro-Namo and his way of politics.
The Congress party has been making noise about China angle too -- as the border tension could embarrass the Modi-led dispensation. 1962 harakiri is a thing of past because all that happened under the virtuous Pt Nehru -- who legitimised a variety of politics -- that says "family loyalists" need not be wrong at all.
Firstly, in terms of India's relations with China -- the misplacement in the trust and well established norms of international diplomacy is actually only a Pt Nehru-era legacy. It would certainly require some time and extra sagacity to find a resolution. Moreover, China remains a globally-known difficult customer to deal with. The Modi-regime is trying different games to deal with different challenges. Whether these would give results or not - the answer lies in the womb of time. But Modi bashing class is getting desperate by the day.
But to trust players like former diplomats Lalit Mansingh and a few others -- so far Modi's message to China has been mixed. And rightly so ! With all efforts for friendship -- the 'jhoola' as analysed by Kapil Sibal -- Modi regime has also tried to keep Beijing guessing as time and again it has given renewed and added emphasis to the Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
"China respects strength. It does not worry much about good mannerism and humility,"
|Blogger with Lalit Mansingh|
Stating that India has stoutly and rightly defended its stand during the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, former Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh has said that "China respects strength".
Interacting with me on the sidelines of a function wherein the Dalai Lama received the prestigious M L Sondhi Prize for International Politics for the year 2016, he has said: "Such gestures of assertiveness (on Dalai Lama's Arunachal visit) is a rare display of firmness and sovereign rights by the Indian government with regards to China. Otherwise, we are used to timidity and playing things safe".
The word 'timidity' actually represents the politics of the leftists -- whose patriotism reached a new set of norms in 1962. Is Rahul Gandhi listening?
Now, the Hamburg indications - from the sidelines of G20 Summit was that - Chinese president Xi Jinping also realises it well that 2017 is different from 1962. Perhaps more correct statement would be Pt Nehru and Narendra Modi are of different stocks. Image does not matter to Narendra Modi as much it bothered India's first Prime Minister. Hence, Modi's firmness seems to be working up to a satisfactory level.
Moreover, China knows it well that Xinjiang is in the throes of a 'slow-burning insurgency' by the Muslim Uighur minority against the Communist state. China's internal problems are of deep concern, many many not realise.
In the recent weeks -- starting from the US visit and then Israel sojourn and also the G20 Summit - Prime Minister's diplomatic adventurism has fetched some dividends. But these are still only early indications and still -- too less. But a sound foundation is being laid.
|Israelis name a flower after 'Modi'|
Even from unusual corner -- appreciation to Modi's Israel trip has come. A Naga politician - Thomas Ngullie has said that -- very few world leaders get the treatment outside his country as Modi was shown the respect in Israel. Does it imply that some Christian sections were also impressed with the kind of bonhomie Modi has able to establish with a Jewish nation?
Modi struck a good personal rapport with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and both shared quality time -- both formal and informal. "We have been waiting for you for last 70 years," Prime Minister Netanyahu has said on July 4 while welcoming Mr Modi -- as a jovial Indian Prime Minister walked into the arms of a beaming Netanyahu -- who making a departure from protocol was at the Tel Aviv Airport to receive him. During their interactions and formal bilateral talks, both the leaders vowed to take the Indo-Israel relationship to new heights. Bth sides signed seven MoUs including a crucial one on agriculture and water.
On the other hand, Modi critics both in India and in Pakistan must realise that China's friendship may not always help Islamabad either.
Even the CPEC and OBOR may not help Pakistan big way.
"Pakistani citizens also have no way to know what CPEC will cost them. Neither government has been clear about what projects are part of the plan. Costing has been completely opaque. China sets the price, contracts the work out to Chinese companies, and saddles Pakistan with the loans. Given the ongoing security threats on Chinese nationals in Pakistan, Islamabad is raising a CPEC Protection Force, the costs of which will be passed on to Pakistani citizens," says C Christine Fair in 'Foreign Policy'.