The government gets high marks for its foreign and security policy handling. There is uncertainty, but people seem optimistic about the challenges ahead
58 FEEL THE NDA GOVERNMENT DID THE RIGHT THING IN CONDUCTING SURGICAL
STRIKES AGAINST PAKISTAN AS A RESPONSE TO THE URI ATTACK PER CENT
AWEEK, AS BRITISH prime minister Harold Wilson once observed, is a long time in politics. Six months—since the last Mood of the Nation survey in August 2016—seem like an eternity now. Consider how the global political climate has changed since then. Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union, is now a reality; Russia has established itself in Syria and Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States.
Closer home, Pakistani terrorists killed 19 soldiers at an army base in Uri, Kashmir, on September 18, triggering retaliatory cross-border surgical strikes by India. This also led to the country ratcheting up pressure on Pakistan, a result of which was an India-led boycott of the SAARC summit which was to be held in Islamabad last November. But while IndiaPakistan relations are fairly predictable in their unpredictability, a similar situation seems to be unfolding globally.
“The world we enter in 2017 is marked by unevenness, possibilities, uncertainties, known and unknown unknowns,” foreign secretary S. Jaishankar told the audience at the Raisina Dialogue on January 18. In such times of uncertainty, MOTN is a useful barometer of what people feel. Forty three per cent of respondents, for instance, feel Indo-US ties will improve under the Trump presidency. This response, of course, predated his ‘buy American, hire American’ inauguration speech, a statement which has ominous portents for the $150 billion Indian IT sector.
There are signs that the Indo-US strategic partnership, built on joint exercises, intelligence exchange and sales of military equipment will continue unaffected by the new president’s ‘America first’ economic focus. Last year, India