Republic Day in India this year was a very ambitious affair. Barack Obama came to Delhi to meet up with his new bosom buddy Narendra Modi and India put on an immensely impressive parade on Rajpath that far surpassed the carnival of previous years.
What struck me most this Republic Day were Modi’s admirable efforts to promote India as a noteworthy competitor on the world stage.
Modi seems to have truly captured the hearts of the population; I heard him described as ‘my Prime Minister’ by a young man recently. Numerous friends have waxed lyrical about why they are pro-Modi and the crux of their support always comes down to his economic policy and what that can do for development. In short, the BJP are encouraging foreign investment in India.
On the train back from Jaipur last night, everyone in my sleeper carriage (and this was quite a lot of people) engaged in a friendly debate about politics. This popular interest, which was attracting even the teenage travellers, is something that I have never witnessed in the UK.
At the Jaipur Literature Festival, the issue of the USA’s involvement in India was very much up for discussion. Some speakers lamented the replacement of India’s own bookseller Full Circle with multinational corporation Amazon.in, others discussed the parallels between British colonial rule and the existing neo-imperial relationship with the USA and Suhel Seth rather wryly ended the fiery closing debate on Sunday with the words ‘God Bless America’.
I think that a fitting response to the concerns I heard aired at the Jaipur Literature Festival can come from a very singular and minimalist float that appeared at the Republic Day parade alongside each state’s offering.
A float complete with the symbol of a lion and the imperative ‘Make in India’ emblazoned on the side, drifted past Modi, Obama and the vast crowds, and inspired me to find out more about the cause. 'Make in India' describe themselves as a ‘Major new national program. Designed to facilitate investment. Foster innovation. Enhance skill. Development. Protect intellectual property. And build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. There’s never been a better time to Make in India.’
'Make in India' perfectly epitomises Hindustan’s immense capacity for international success and the direction in which this exceptionally powerful nation is heading.