As Indian-Americans began celebrating the landslide victory of the Narendra Modi-led NDA, with the Overseas Friends of BJP leading the charge, foreign policy wonks termed the Modi era an opportunity to recast US-India ties and take it to new heights.
“The Modi era may offer a chance to recast US-India ties in more realist mode. To the degree Modi succeeds in re-energising India’s economy (as he has done impressively as Chief Minister of Gujarat), he will give substance, and not hot air, to a deeper US-India partnership,” wrote James C Clad and Robert A Manning in the Foreign Policy magazine.
The dramatic scale of Modi’s victory prompted at least one US lawmaker, Democrat Eni Faleomavaega, to voice his disappointment with Washington over its failure to reach out to Modi well in time and develop a comprehensive partnership when it mattered most.And noted Indian-American commentator Fareed Zakaria, even while being critical of Modi over the Gujarat riots of 2002, faulted Washington’s treatment of Modi. “This ostracism should stop. This manner of singling out Modi has been selective, arbitrary and excessive,” he wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
US media outlets that have been largely critical of Modi over the years began taking note of the groundswell of support for him. As a New York Times dispatch put it, “With his conservative ideology and steely style of leadership, Mr Modi, who came from a humble background and rose through the ranks of a Hindu nationalist group, will prove a stark departure from his predecessors in that office.”
“His image as a stern, disciplined leader has attracted vast throngs of voters, who hope he will crack down on corruption, jump-start India’s flagging economy and create manufacturing jobs,” the paper said.Leading South Asia watcher Ashley Tellis expressed the hope that with this “breathtaking landslide” of a victory, Modi’s election will open new doors for correcting the problems in the Indian economy, which will be good news for US-India relations. “But Washington still has much work to do before it can translate what may be welcome news for US business into better bilateral relations,” he said.
Corporate America wasted little time in welcoming the leader knonw for his pro-business credentials. The US India Business Council said it “looks forward to partnering with the NDA Government to usher in an energetic era of development”.“USIBC member companies stand ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work with the new Government to advance the US-India partnership and deepen bilateral economic ties,” said USIBC chairman and MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga.
Terming it a Diwali moment, the Overseas Friends of BJP is taking the lead in organizing victory events in different parts of the US, while the US India Political Action Committee lauded Modi and the BJP on their spectacular success.Congressman Faleomavaega, known for his consistent support on Capitol Hill to matters of Indian interest, said: “Today is a victory for India. The people of India have triumphed, and I join with them in congratulating India’s next Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on this momentous occasion.”
Disclosing his plan to honour Modi’s leadership with a mention in the Congressional record next week when the US Congress reconvenes, Faleomavaega said: “I firmly believe Narendra Modi should be included not only in the annals of India’s history but US history too, because he was elected with a resounding victory despite the US using every recourse it could to disrupt his destiny.”