In a globalised world, you do not always need to engage in a transaction of respect. If a country just respects its own interest, others follow. Currently, no country other than India shows how it is done. The Modi Cabinet has taken national pride to such a level that even an ordinary Indian can see the difference between India during PM Modi and India during previous governments.
Italian hooligans paraded in front of media
Recently, PM Modi was in Ahmedabad to inaugurate Phase-1 of the metro rail service. But for some Italians, this was the opportunity to defame the Ahmedabad metro. At around 2:30 AM, 4 Italians defaced two parked coaches of Ahmedabad Metro with graffiti at Apparel Park in Gomtipur. They wrote strange words like ‘TAS’, ‘TATA’, ‘BURN’, ‘SPLASH’ and caused damages worth Rs 50,000.
Initially the Police feared that it was part of some grand conspiracy. But, a thorough investigation revealed that it was an act of fancy mischief by 4 Italian nationals namely Cudini Gianluca Italiana, 24, Baldo Sacha Italiana, 29, Starinieri Danileli Italiana, 21, and Capecci Paolo Italiana, 27. They have been booked under IPC sections 447 (criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), and under section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The Police have apprehended them and showed no mercy in the process. Just like they would do to a local smacker, they paraded these hooligans in front of the media and asked them to take a picture in a Gujarat Police Office. The media obliged and published the picture. Not only that, the Italian Embassy has also been informed about the arrest.
No word from Italy
Apparently, 3 days have passed and there is no official word from neither the Italian government nor the Italian Embassy in India. Given the fact that Giorgia Meloni, a Conservative leader just won the election, the matter should have been the centre of diplomatic scuffle between both countries.
Additionally, these people are citizens of a country in what their leaders term as “developed world”. By now, a legal team should have been sent by Italy. After all, the developed world is known for sending troops to evacuate its citizens, why not a legal team?
Enrica Lexie case
No such development has taken place by now. It gets more confusing when you know that the pacifist party in this case is Italy. Yes, the same Italy which had started a diplomatic war against India in the early 2010s.
On February 15, 2012, Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MB Enrica Lexie had killed two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala. The reason why they were so confident and felt emboldened to kill poor Indian fishermen was because the tanker was accompanied by six Italian Navy marines.
Despite that, the Indian Navy intercepted MB Enrica Lexie in Lakshadweep archipelago and compelled it to proceed to Kochi port. Two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre were also arrested. Later, Kerala Police registered FIRs under multiple sections, including murder on them.
As expected, a diplomatic brawl kicked off and just like it did after the 2008 Mumbai attack, Manmohan Singh government stayed on the backfoot while Italian authorities kept mounting pressure on India. In 2013, the Manmohan government even sent them to Italy for voting. Few months later, the charge of murder was downgraded from murder to violence, while charges under the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts were dropped.
Reason why Italy is silent
For Italy, the precedent is set. They could just look at how the Indian government stayed meek in the past and just proceeded towards doing the same. But this time, they did not. Why? Because the government has changed. Because the temper in New Delhi has changed. Because the current government will not tolerate any damage to India’s reputation. Cheekily, also because its political head is not based out of Italy.
PM Modi has changed how the world looks at India. When the Italian marine incident occurred, India was nothing but a joke for the world. The elected government was drowned with corruption. Policy paralysis had killed any chances of investment. We had failed to take any decisive action on either the internal or external security threats. Why would any country fear us? Leave fear, not a single country had a big stake in our economy so that they would be scared to offend its master.
India’s economic and military might
But PM Modi’s India is different. Through the last 8 years, it has worked towards increasing its military, economic and strategic leverage. Today, we are the fastest growing major economy in the world. We are the only country which is immune from recession. We have one of the youngest labour forces in the world.
This labour force is being fed well with social sector schemes such as PMGKAY, Aayushman Bharat, Skill India, make-in-India, Stand Up India, Start up India among others. No wonder, we remained virtually unaffected from the aftereffects of the lockdown during Covid. Talking about Covid, India turned this bane into a boon by exporting Vaccines to more than 70 countries.
The economic might is giving us leverage in other areas as well. In 2022, our Defence production is touching new heights and India, once the biggest importer of arms, is now busy exporting its made-in-India military muscles.
It all started with Galwan
Increasing military and economic might is the reason why India has done the impossible on the global stage. When China attacked India in Galwan, they believed that India would focus more on peace and will soon get to the diplomatic table by acceding a piece of land to CCP, just like it did in 1962.
Instead, the Chinese were met with ferocious counter offense and India refused to give even an inch. Not only that, India also started to boycott Chinese initiatives on various multilateral forums. For a while, China was a pariah in BRICS, all thanks to India.
RCEP jolt to the world
Few months after Galwan valley, the world saw the impact of a roaring India when it decided to pull out of the RCEP deal. Its logic was simple. India clearly said that terms of RCEP is antithetical to India’s long-term economic interests, so it won’t be part of such grouping.
Rarely had any western leader witnessed such a remarkable clarity from any Indian delegation ever. It was the announcement of India’s arrival on the global stage. It was India’s official announcement that it won’t play second fiddle to China in the Asian century.
Ukraine-Russia conflict and emergence of India
India’s final declaration as superpower came in 2022. Apparently, the Ukraine-Russia crisis gave us a chance to showcase what India has become in the 21st century. Despite ‘n’ number of pressure tactics applied by the Western bloc, India just refused to take their side in the narrative war.
India always abstained from voting against Russia and increased economic bonhomie with it as well, foremost of which was availability of cheap oil to India. There came a moment when the American President had to ask for some time out of PM Modi’s busy schedule, just to say hello to him.
While, India’s might kept increasing, China’s kept decreasing. It got the idea that if it had to save its reputation, the CCP would have to withdraw forces from the controversial region. It is true that America’s support to India, opportunistic in its intent may be, played its part.
But it is India’s victory to be able to strategically manoeuvre between both Russia and Ukraine. Name one country in the world which is perceived as a friend of Russia and still the Ukrainian President is asking the world to induct it into permanent membership of the UNSC. It’s only India.
You may not have realised it, but times have changed a lot during the last 8 years. The world is feeling India’s heat and that is why Italy decided to stay away from it. Dangers of getting burned are more prolific than ever before. Ask the American establishment about it.
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