New Delhi, India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a candid interview with the Financial Times (FT), painted a picture of an India brimming with confidence and yearning for global leadership. His vision, unfolding in the pages of the esteemed publication, outlines India’s ascent as a major economic player, surpassing China in population and attracting record investments as an alternative manufacturing hub.

Modi paints a triumphant narrative, citing landmark achievements like the G20 summit hosted in Delhi and the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission as symbols of India’s rising stature. “The world is interconnected,” he declared in the FT interview, “And India, with its vast potential and vibrant democracy, is ready to assume its rightful place as a leading player on the global stage.”

However, beneath the celebratory tone, the FT interview also highlights concerns raised by critics. They point to a tightening grip on dissent, with alleged crackdowns on civil society, journalists, and the Muslim minority. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, voiced these concerns in the FT article, stating, “While India’s economic rise is undeniable, we cannot turn a blind eye to the erosion of fundamental rights and shrinking space for free speech.”

Modi, however, firmly rebuked these accusations in the FT interview. “India’s commitment to pluralism and democracy is unwavering,” he asserted. “Our critics fail to grasp the true spirit of our nation, its inherent diversity and tolerance.”

India’s foreign policy, too, presents a complex picture in the FT interview. Modi describes it as a “mix-and-match,” maintaining close ties with Russia while cautiously pursuing closer relations with the US. He emphasizes national interest as the guiding principle, avoiding rigid alliances while seeking partnerships that serve India’s people and contribute to global stability.

The Pannu assassination plot allegations in the US, however, cast a shadow over this delicate diplomatic dance. While Modi vowed a thorough investigation in the FT interview, the incident underscores the challenges of navigating the global stage.

Despite the headwinds, Modi’s vision remains ambitious, as expressed in the FT interview. He envisions an India where everyone feels welcome and empowered to contribute. “We are building a nation where opportunities abound, not just for the privileged few, but for every single citizen,” he declared, his voice echoing with optimism in the FT article.

Whether India can realize this ambitious vision while respecting its democratic principles remains the crux of its journey. One thing is clear: under Modi’s leadership, India is no longer content to be a spectator on the world stage. It is ready to claim its place in the sun, shaping not only its own destiny but also the contours of the global order.

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