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If Narendra Modi wants the Nobel Peace Prize, he can learn a lot from Abiy Ahmed

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received many awards. He often receives international awards and recognition just before key elections in India. It is surprising then, that he hasn’t been in the reckoning for the Nobel Peace Prize. If he could win the Seoul Peace Prize, why not the Nobel?

The Nobel Peace Prize goes to either issue-based campaigners or peace-makers. Narendra Modi is both. To make a stronger claim for the Nobel, Modi may want to look at the 2019 winner of the prize Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Hope and expectations were high when Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, defeating an unpopular incumbent government. Abiy Ahmed became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia under similar circumstances in April 2018. Such was the promise his rise held out that it was termed ‘Abiymania’. Modi and Abiy have another great similarity: both believe in personal touch, especially in diplomacy. Both believe in promoting a personality cult around them.

To draw an analogy is not to say the two situations are exactly the same. Of course, Ethiopia is not India. India’s GDP per capita is nearly three times that of Ethiopia’s.

The conflict in Ethiopia, the number of internally displaced people, the levels of political violence and repression, the number of journalists and political opponents in jail and in exile have all been of a scale that India hasn’t seen. Except, today we can’t be sure if India isn’t hurtling down that path.

If PM Modi wants to win the Nobel Peace Prize, he should see how Abiy has been taking Ethiopia from authoritarianism to democracy, from repression to freedom, and from conflict to reconciliation. Abiy is climbing up a ladder that Modi is climbing down.

Also read: Abiy Ahmed has won the Nobel Peace Prize, but Ethiopia still faces big challenges

Ethiopia was ‘partitioned’........

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