Modi aces global leadership crisis

China’s Xi is busy putting down revolts and jailing critics as the economy falters and official corruption is rampant.

Published: 26th March 2023 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2023 12:53 PM   |  A+A-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo | PTI)

Popularity is the lifeblood of politicians. They compete for it. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, their popularity is assessed in terms of contrast and the proportion is the perspective. When it was reported recently that Narendra Modi is the darling of the people of Pakistan and China, two countries that hate India the most, it was a new perspective on geopolitics.

A survey by an American global leader approval tracker has named Modi the world’s most popular leader—for the second time in a row. His approval rating is above 75 per cent of India’s adult population in contrast with Biden, Xi or Putin—a rating they would kill for. 

In a viral YouTube video last month, Sana Amjad, a former Pakistani journalist, announced that the slogan ‘Pakistan se zinda bhago, chahe India chale jao (Flee Pakistan with your life and run away to India)’ was being raised on the streets of her country. A local she interviewed even wished he wasn’t born in Pakistan. In China, with whom India is engaged in a bitter border dispute, Modi is revered as ‘Modi Laoxian’ or ‘Modi the Immortal’—a rare cultural honour—according to the American strategic affairs magazine, The Diplomat.

Clearly, the Prime Minister’s 75 per cent approval rating shows that the Adani scandal has hardly tainted his stylish starched kurta and pyjama; it seems other countries and most Indians couldn’t care less about the Hindenburg Report.

The world is facing an unprecedented leadership crisis. Britain’s Boris Johnson had to resign because he went to a party; his successor Liz Truss barely lasted four months and foxy Rishi Sunak is struggling to get his act together. America’s geriatric president Biden may have early dementia. Putin is sending millions of raw Russian soldiers to their deaths to save his wounded pride. China’s Xi is busy putting down revolts and jailing critics as the economy falters and official corruption is rampant.

Turkey’s Erdogan may lose his job in the coming elections. France’s Macron is barely hanging on, surviving no-confidence motions by the skin of his teeth. After Angela Merkel, Germany’s leadership is bland and indecisive as its dithering Ukraine policy attests. Pakistan is a democracy only in name, controlled by the army and feudal lords. Sri Lanka’s venal former president brought his country to ruin and was denied asylum in the US. Europe is facing an Islamic immigration-fuelled identity crisis.

Jacinda Ardern, formerly New Zealand’s progressive young prime minister, resigned in January, saying she “no longer had enough in the tank” to do the job. In spite of Australian PM Albanese’s stadium run in Ahmedabad, he is helpless to stop Khalistan supporters from vandalising  Hindu temples. Canada’s Justin Trudeau failed to win a majority twice and barely saved his government last week. In this leadership vacuum, Modi seems to be the only stable leader in contrast.

He has no serious domestic challenger—infighting in the Opposition has seen to that. Building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya established him as Hindu Hriday Samrat in a country of 966 million Hindus. He captained the world’s largest vaccination drive. He pushes only the national agenda, whether it be on Russian oil or American weapons. The IMF predicts India’s economy to expand to 6.8 per cent in 2024.

Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai’ has become the neighbour’s envy and owner’s pride.

Ravi Shankar


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