Prime Minister Modi’s call for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat (self-dependent India) is not claptrap. It is a call for a comprehensive civilisational self-renewal. It articulates India’s engagement with the world at a time when the contours and narrative of globalisation are being sharply debated and examined. When public intellectuals speak of an unfortunate return to a fortress existence, when many speak of isolationism and falling back upon oneself, the PM speaks of being self-reliant but not self-centred and a future of “togetherness and resilience”. He talks about delineating India’s trajectory in shaping a post-COVID-19 world order.
The PM has also emphasised the need for a new globalisation. This globalisation, he has argued, needs to be human-centred. This stands in clear contradistinction to the narrative of globalisation that has evolved over the past few decades—a globalisation which is primarily focused on homogeneity, is at times hegemonic and has manifested in some, a keenness towards exploitation and imposing uniformity. PM Modi is perhaps among the few, or the only world leader, who while immersed in handling the corona challenge, has also kept articulating fundamental thoughts and ideas on a post-corona world and the role India would play in shaping it.