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Why Modi’s Diehard Critics Are Wrong On PM’s Foreign Visits

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Narendra Modi has faced criticism rare for an Indian Prime Minister from the Congress-led Opposition for his frequent foreign trips. If critics of Modi are to be believed, the Indian economy is in a bad shape and Modi's much-vaunted efforts to increase investment and create jobs are not working. His frequent foreign journeys are more in the style of paid, luxurious junkets that only generates media publicity and online hype without any concrete progress on the ground.
The reality, however, is far different and the numbers tell a different story.
Ever since Modi started his foreign trips, India has become a hot destination for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). India has received $19.78 billion FDI from 12 countries visited by Modi in financial year 2014-15.
During the period, Indian companies invested $3.42 billion in these countries which include Bhutan, Brazil, Nepal, Japan, the US, Myanmar, Australia, Fiji, Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Singapore. In 2014-15, FDI in India increased by 27 per cent to $30.93 billion.
After the Make in India programme was launched in September last year, it's raining FDI. Data from Department of Industrial Policy and Planning shows the inflows have jumped 48 per cent between October 2014 and April 2015 over the year-earlier period.
Modi's visits have managed to attract FDI at a time when domestic investment and demand remains weak and quotes foreign diplomats and officials as saying that there are no problems about Modi government's efforts at attracting foreign investment, according to an article in The Economic Times.
He coined the phrase "start-up India" in a pitch for more people to get entrepreneurial opportunities and called for states to provide electricity for all within 1,000 days.
In the last three months alone, global manufacturing giants such as Siemens, Foxconn, Softbank have announced large multi-billion dollar investments in the country. Other global giants are waiting in the wings. In the next one year, major infrastructure projects like highways, metro rail networks, roads, railways and massive investment parks are likely to see large investment from Chinese and Japanese companies and banks.
According to media reports, Japan, China and South Korea have together pledged investments worth $50 billion while United Arab Emirates (UAE) has promised to partner India in putting together a $75 billion infrastructure investment fund.
“Modi's visits were necessitated by the economic and strategic agenda he set out for India to press its suit as a major player, to impress the economic factor into diplomacy, and to connect strongly with the Indian diaspora,” writes Krishnan Srinivasan in The Telegraph.
Modi’s reform agenda suffered major setback when lawmakers ended the monsoon session of Parliament acrimoniously and without approving the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill aimed at faster economic growth. Political opposition had already forced Modi to backtrack on a pro-business land bill.
However, a latest survey conducted by American think-tank Pew Research Center has shown rise in Modi's favourability rating in India from 78 per cent in 2013 to 87 per cent in 2015. Over half of the respondents — 56 per cent —  said they were satisfied with the direction in which the country was going, and 74 per cent said the economy was currently in good shape, it said.