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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Modi 6th powerful person on twitter ~ Japanese PM Shinzo Abe follows only 3

A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign ("#"). It is a form of metadata tag. Words in messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram may be tagged by putting "#" before them. In Twitter,  # symbol,  is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet.

In the first week of May 2014, DuringOn Monday, Rajinikanth became the first top Tamil film star to join microblogging site Twitter and even before he sent his first tweet he had nearly 17,000 followers; and when he finally did send out his first tweet at around four in the evening, it was retweeted at least 5,000 times by his fans. "Salutation to the Lord. Vanakkam anaivarukkum!! A big thank you to all my fans. Excited on this digital journey," the 63-year-old actor tweeted from his handle @SuperStarRajini..... a few minutes after his joining, Twitter India posted the message: "Vanakkam, Namaste, Salaam, Hello Rajinikanth! Please join us in welcoming @SuperStar-Rajini to Twitter."

An interesting article in Economic Times dated 23.5.14 read “Narendra Modi becomes sixth most powerful leader on Twitter”.  Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi is the sixth most followed leader on Twitter globally, according to a survey by Twiplomacy, a study of world leaders on the microblogging site. Modi's Twitter handle @narendramodi has 4,240,643 followers, with a weekly growth of 6.77 per cent, monthly increase of 12.22 per cent and quarterly growth of 24.26 per cent. The most followed world leader on Twitter is US President Barack Obama, followed by Pope Francis. Indonesia President SB Yudhoyono is in third position followed by the official White House account and Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the fifth position, according to the study. Twiplomacy is New York-based Burson-Marsteller's annual study aimed at identifying the extent to which world leaders use Twitter. Earlier, social networking site Facebook had claimed that Narendra Modi had the fastest growing Facebook page for any elected leader in the world.

Modi, however, has greater growth rate on Facebook (1.171 per cent) compared to Obama's 0.305 per cent. Modi has overtaken Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate, who now has 11.345 million followers on Facebook.  Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who shares an excellent rapport with Modi, follows only three people on Twitter - his wife Aki Abe, politician Naoki Inose and Narendra Modi. Modi and Abe both emphasise on the need for a robust economy and are mindful of China's growing ambitions.

It is not ET alone – here is something from ‘theguardian.com’ (21.5.14) Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, follows only three people on Twitter: his outspoken wife, a scandal-tainted politician and India's prime minister-in-waiting, Narendra Modi. Abe and Modi are two assertive nationalists who came to power on platforms pledging economic revival. They share a keen interest in neighbour China's growing regional ambitions. Mutually appreciative tweets have pinged back and forth since Modi won a landslide victory in India's general election on Friday. Relations between India and Japan have gone from strength to strength in recent years, with cooperation on infrastructure projects, trade and defence that is watched closely by China. Japan ranks 13th among India's top trading partners. Inose is an author-turned-politician who helped Tokyo win a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

~ and here is something more as reported in CNN.  Indians want their version of the American Dream. Even the Chinese Dream will do. And so they have voted for a man who promises more for less: more development and growth, with less government and red tape. For India's 1.27 billion dreamers, their new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a known commodity. His simple mandate is to do for India what he has done for the north western state of Gujarat in the last 12 years: conjure up Chinese-levels of growth and prosperity. But for Modi's counterparts in Washington, Beijing, and Islamabad, India's new leader is considered a wildcard. Will he be aggressive, or a dove? What is his foreign policy? Does he have a vision for India's place in the world?

Modi has certainly begun with a flourish, scoring a coup in getting his Pakistani counterpart to attend his swearing-in. On Monday, Nawaz Sharif became the first Pakistani Prime Minister in history to attend an Indian prime minister's inauguration. Modi's Twitter account also highlights his early attempts to strengthen ties with his new counterparts. Twitter diplomacy is not just about rhetoric -- there have been some early results, too. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse tweeted Sunday: "As a goodwill measure on the occasion of @narendramodi's swearing-in, President instructs officials to release Indian fishermen in custody."

None of the above sheds light on what kind of vision Modi has, but it is indeed a refreshing marker of proactive engagement -- the opposite of India's foreign policy in years gone by. In an excellent essay in Foreign Affairs last month, Manjari Chatterjee Miller described how Indian foreign policy in the last 50 years has been characterized "more by continuity than by change" -- irrespective of the party in power.  According to Arun Shourie, former Indian minister - India's relations with major powers have stayed stable. Broadly, there are two reasons behind this trend. One is India's historic pledge of "non-alignment": the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru founded the global Non-Aligned Movement, a group of states agreeing to not align with major powers. The other reason is India's neglect of foreign policy planning from the very top: civil servants get little-to-no instruction from the prime minister's office, and so have great levels of autonomy and wield significant power. So what it will be from now on ??

Only Modi knows the answers. But if Indian foreign policy has so far not been driven by the prime minister's office, I think we can now expect that strange quirk to change. For better or worse, Prime Minister Modi will take charge.  To conclude with the quote of Arun Shourie, "Anyone who says they know Modi's plans, doesn't really know anything. The ones who know won't talk."

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th  May 2014.

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