By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Several think tanks and key officials in the US State Department have revised their stand on Narendra Modi who is emerging as one of the main contenders to lead India as its new prime minister. The State Department has asked its representative in India, the US ambassador, to initiate dialogue with Modi and the BJP.
The State Department was resisting calls to meet with the Gujarat gangster leader Modi, but the pressure seems to be subsiding.
The powerful Christian evangelist lobby was behind the earlier denial of a visa to Modi. However, the lobby is under pressure from several Republican and Democratic congressmen who have been promised substantial election funding by BJP supporters in key congressional districts in the coming election.
Modi is being projected as the only prime ministerial candidate that would promote the American brand of capitalism in India. He is also seen as a strong leader who can tackle Pakistan and Al-Qaeda related terrorism in India decisively. He is also seen as the only political leader whose support of Israel is unwavering and unconditional. All this plus the money power of the BJP supporters in India appear to have convinced policy makers in the US that the time has come when Modi should no longer be considered a taboo.
The State Department realizes that Indiaâ€™s bureaucracy is largely run by people who have sympathy for the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, (RSS), and it would be extremely difficult to ignore this group while developing a policy in the future. Many analysts feel that Congress is too weak at this moment to pose any challenge to Modi. The other parties are divided and they do not offer anything substantial to either India or the US. The Aam Aadmi Party is gradually losing its charm and the left-front poses serious policy issues to the US.
Based on this preliminary analysis, the US is likely to have a complete u-turn on its hitherto policy on the BJP and Modi.
It should not surprise anyone, although it would be sad and disappointing, if Modi were issued a US visa and invited to articulate his vision of a new India to US think tanks. Several think tanks appear to believe that India might play a key role in tackling the al-Qaeda as it would relieve US of its major military initiatives. A vigilant India would provide a safeguard to Israel as well from any Iranian or Pakistani threat. Also, India would be in a better position to deal with the situation in Afghanistan once the US leaves. Modi, in the deluded view of many, might be a person who could easily be lured to play the role of US puppet in Asia.