Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Ireland on Wednesday after 60 years has surprised many of international relations experts if not all of them. There can be two reasons for this visit- firstly, improving trade relations and appealing to Indian diaspora for investment, and secondly, getting support for its permanent membership for United Nations Security Council.
What is common between India and Ireland?
India and Ireland both fought for their freedom from same colonial power Britain. It is said that independence leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Éamon de Valera were in touch with each other. The strongest tie between the two countries during independence movement was the link of Annie Besant, an Irish and firm supporter of Indian self-rule. She made similar demands of Home Rule in Ireland based on Indian model. Catholic Christian institutions provided another link of close tie during independence period. Lord Salisbury (3 times British Prime Minister from 1885 to 1895) once said “Ireland must be kept like India by persuasion if not by force”.
The rationale behind the visit
According to government officials, the present visit will bolster the economic ties between the two countries, and India’s flagship programs especially Digital India and Skill India can be another point of cooperation. India can also be benefited from the Irish expertise in food processing, information technology and smart agriculture.
Irish PM Enda Kenny after meeting his Indian counterpart confirmed that Ireland will support India’s bid for permanent membership for UNSC. UN should recognize the geopolitical realities of massive countries like India, he further added. Modi has clear agenda of projecting India as the main contender of UNSC by getting maximum support and by fostering strong relations with all the countries. Powerful countries like Russia and the US which has so far provided only oral support for India’s bid, it becomes imperative for India to pursue not only bigger countries for its interest but also it should forge mutual beneficial relations with smaller countries like Ireland. In this regard, this is a required step and it seems Indian PM knows it very well.
Both leaders discussed on a wide range of technological cooperation. Irish expertise and knowledge can be utilized in PM’s various new initiatives and thrust areas like the cleaning of Ganges, Irish companies working in the hygiene water technology are well known around the world. The growing Indian diaspora which are well integrated in Irish society will be another attractive area for Indian PM to pitch his development policies and for attracting investments.
|Nachiket Nishant loves to write on issues related to politics and international affairs. He has done his masters in international relations. Currently, he is a lead policy researcher at The Indian Iris.
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