Monday, 30th October 2017

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Modi’s shallow understanding of crucial issues is not funny

How safe is India in the hands of a leader who has a poor grasp of the consequences of his actions?

  • Published 15.05.19, 9:08 AM
  • Updated 15.05.19, 9:08 AM
  • 2 mins read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating Diwali with army and BSF jawans in the Gurez Valley, Jammu and Kashmir, in 2017 The Telegraph file picture

Clarity, the adage goes, is the key to success. A clouded vision, in other words, begets failure. Narendra Modi has now demonstrated the power of the maxim with his understanding of clouds and radars. In a televised interview, the prime minister disclosed that while reviewing preparations for the aerial operation in Balakot, he was convinced that cloud cover and such inclement weather conditions as rainfall would prevent radars in Pakistan from detecting the presence of Indian fighter planes. The source of Mr Modi’s ingenuity was — by his own admission — a ‘raw vision’. Unfortunately for the prime minister, his wisdom would come across as a bit too raw — unripened, in other words — to knowledgeable Indians. Radar technology, it is well known, is capable of penetrating obstacles such as clouds. The prime minister’s ignorance, even though it is surprising, is not the problem here. A leader need not be an expert in every domain. But what is truly shocking — this is the crux of the matter in this case — is Mr Modi’s eagerness to overrule the wisdom of experienced military commanders and press ahead with a sensitive mission of immense military and geo-strategic implication. The veteran commanders, it has been reported, had asked for a change in the date of the operation. The prime minister, powered by his raw wisdom, would have none of it.

All this would have been comical had it not been for the fact that the incident raises two fundamental questions. How safe is India, a nation with a nuclear arsenal, in the hands of a leader who implements measures without an adequate understanding of the consequences of his actions? It must be remembered that this is not the only instance of Mr Modi choosing to rely on his dreaded reasoning by ignoring collective wisdom. His implementation of demonetization — a surgical strike on India’s economy and its informal sector — was another example of Mr Modi’s shallow understanding of crucial issues. What is worrying is that institutions — the bureaucracy, the military and the media — have turned supine, making it easier for Mr Modi to get away with his monumental lapses. It seems that the orchestrated assault on “big pundits” — India’s intellectuals who constitute the vanguard of scrutiny — is finally bearing fruit for Mr Modi and his party.

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