Just finished reading my last newspaper of 2015 and read a lot on what happened in 2015, what new trends can be expected and what is forecasted for 2016. And only one thing can be concluded for sure: there is no consensus on our current status and nobody knows what the future will bring. The Dutch newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’ investigated the outcome of predictions for 2014 and 2015 and concluded that doing predictions is becoming more and more difficult: we live in a very uncertain time!
Yesterday I came back from a visit to Antwerp in Belgium where the atmosphere had really changed compared with my visit a year ago: heavy armed police walked around in the City center, a helicopter was flying above us and citizens with luggage were stopped and searched: for me as European an complete new experience, I would not have expected to happen in Europe a year ago!
2015 has been a game changing year: the war in Syria and Irak, the terrorist attacks form IS and the refugee crisis: it had a lot of impact on our society and influences our daily live significantly. Nobody expects these big problems to be solved on the short term.
But there were also some positive developments especially the last few months which can give us hope and one person is, according to me, driving this: Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, a new world leader who made impressive progress on foreign policy since he was elected.
Some of his achievements:
- Modi performed as world leader during the BRICS, G20 and SCO summits and played an important role in the Paris Climate conference and travelled to 25 countries this year.
- He has good relations with our world leaders like Obama, Poutin and Xi Jinping and is becoming an intermediair regarding international political issues.
- He pushed for a permanent membership of the UNSC necessary if India is to be a leading power and for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
- He used the trilateral Russia-India-China dialogue as well as the BRICS format to express shared positions on specific global issues, while strengthening strategic ties with the US and Japan, affirming freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, linking the security of the Indian Ocean.
- He visited the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and signed a nuclear agreement removing a major hurdle in building a strategic relationship of equality between the two countries.
- He successfully visited Russia consolidating nuclear and defence and energy and economic ties for which opportunities have further grown.
- He flew to Lahore to meet president Nawaz Shariff of Pakistan who is now negotiating together with the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani with the Taliban. India can play an important role in the region having itself an Islam minority for ages living peaceful together.
- And , last but not least, he suported the first International Yoga day on June 21 on which 35.985 people, including Modi himself and a large number of dignitaries from 84 nations, performed 21 Yoga asanas (postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi played and important role this year expanding the political, security and economic reach of Indian diplomacy not only from the Indian perspective but as a world leader booking progress on establishing world peace. In times of uncertainty we need leaders like Modi who take ownership and responsibility who are working on change for the better for all of us!