Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Modi vs Trump? Prime Minister gives enough indication to NRIs on which side of political divide they should move

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the US, appears to have given enough indication to the non-resident Indian (NRI) community that he has no love lost for Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump, many of whose Indian critics often refer him as “American Modi.”
Indians form one of the biggest immigrant communities in the US, following Latin Americans. In some parts of the US, such as in Silicon City, they play a decisive role in politics. In a major fillip to President Barack Obama, Modi has helped him block Trump's efforts to undermine climate change agreement.
Pointing towards one of the “most important part of Modi’s visit” from the US angle, the New York Times (NYT) reports, it was Modi's "announced intention to formally join the Paris climate change agreement by the end of this year”, something Trump is bent upon cancelling if he becomes President next year.
According to NYT, “So far, countries representing about 50 percent of global emissions have announced that they will submit legal paperwork to the United Nations documenting their compliance with the deal. The pact will become binding when at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions formally join.”
The daily, in its report headlined, “Narendra Modi Bolsters India’s Ties with US, Thanks (Partly) to Donald Trump”, underlines, “The inclusion of India, the world’s third-largest emitter after China and the United States, would guarantee that the deal will go into effect before the next American president takes office.”
NYT reports, “Trump has vowed to ‘cancel’ the Paris climate agreement if elected, something Obama is eager to prevent. Once the accord enters into legal force, no nation can legally withdraw for four years.”
The daily quotes Robert N Stavins, director of the environmental economics programme at Harvard, as saying, “If the Paris agreement achieves ratification before Inauguration Day, it would be impossible for the Trump administration to renegotiate or even drop out during the first presidential term.”
Modi’s move comes at a time when the NRI community is upset with Trump, who has been critical of Indians. Trump has blamed India, alongside other countries such as China and Vietman, for “taking away jobs from Americans”, pledging to bring them back if elected president.
Following Trumps excessively anti-immigrant comments, the Indian community in the US increasingly began feeling that it would be unsafe in the US. Riju Agrawal, who calls himself a fan engineer and a policy analyst, and is currently a finance professional in the US, wrong a blog titled “My Modi Illusions Have Shattered, Thanks In Part To Donald Trump”, enough to alert Modi.
Agrawal says, “During the 2014 general election, I, along with many other NRIs, pledged my vicarious support to the BJP and Narendra Modi”, adding, he was “too enamoured by his extravagant promises of "acchhe din"... unable to recognize his stirring speeches for the unattainable campaign promises.”
Pointing out that “Trump's rise in the US” has been a “critical catalyst” towards his “belated fear for the future of secularism in India”, Agrawal argues, “There are remarkable parallels between Modi's rise in India and that of Trump in the US.”
“The same hunger for change and widespread disgust for the ruling class that led India to elect the son of a tea-seller to the nation's highest office are driving a surge of support for the vocal and pugilistic outsider that Trump purports himself to be”, Agrawal underlines.
“The authoritarian inclinations that led Indians to yearn for a strongman solution to years of Congress misrule (Modi is known to talk about the width of his chest as a barometer of his fortitude) are giving Trump in the US a mandate to bully his opponents”, he says.

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