Archive for the ‘India Domestic & Economy’ Category

India and its South Asian Neighbors: Where does the U.S. Fit In?

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Read my article in the Brookings U.S.-India Policy Memo, January 20, 2015.

In seven months in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established himself as a decisive player in his immediate region, willing to turn on the charm but determined to maintain India’s primacy. His summits with the United States, Russia and the large East Asian powers have had a pronounced economic flavor, and Modi is encouraging these countries to compete with one another for India’s favor. He has made himself the central personality in all these relationships.

Modi sees no U.S. role in India-Pakistan relations. President Obama should draw Modi out on how India expects to exercise the leadership role it seeks, especially on the future of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Read the full article.

Read all the articles in the Policy Memo.

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India and the WTO: A Reprieve

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November 13, 2014: The announcement November 13 that India and the United States had agreed on a potential resolution of the dispute that threatened the future of the World Trade Organization was very welcome indeed. One of the comments that appeared on Twitter soon after the announcement was succinct: “Champagne?” The real answer is: no – a nice cup of tea would be more fitting. It will take some work to reverse the damaging impact of the four-month standoff that preceded it, and avoid a repeat.

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Modi in America:Economics as Strategy

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Narendra Modi’s first official visit to Washington was set up before he had even been sworn in as prime minister, in a personal congratulatory phone call from President Obama. It was scheduled during the U.N. General Assembly, a significant and deliberate exception to the U.S. practice of avoiding Washington summits during General Assembly season. Especially after the 9 year freeze in Washington’s dealings with Modi, this was a good start, made better by the hope and determination both sides brought to the task.

Now, he and his American hosts need to energize their economic relationships on the way to setting some more ambitions strategic goals. Read the rest of our article in the Times of India, September 26, 2014.

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Modi’s India: A View from Washington

(This article is adapted from remarks by Teresita Schaffer to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Oslo, September 20, 2014.)

Photo from flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/narendramodiofficial/14811184928/

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington gives us an opportunity to look at the reasons the U.S. considers its relations with India strategic, and to reflect on how India-U.S. ties fit into India’s – and Modi’s – vision of India’s role in the world. The two visions still fit together a bit awkwardly, but this is a critical opportunity to continue the quest for better ways to work together. Read more

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Starting Strong: Modi’s First Month

Modi swearing-in, https://www.flickr.com/photos/presidentrajapaksa/14278130922/

June 19, 2014: The first thirty days after Narendra Modi’s swearing-in as Indian prime minister set a breathtaking pace. The new government – and Modi personally –dominated the news and the action agenda. The strong centralization and detailed emphasis on economic revitalization were expected; the burst of high profile foreign policy initiatives was not. A month is a short time for drawing sweeping conclusions, but so far, Modi has been remarkably successful in creating excitement about his initiatives, and an air of inevitability about his determination to follow through. His challenge will be to maintain focus and discipline in his exuberant party, and to deal with soaring expectations.

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India: Huge Election Shakeup

Photo from Al Jazeera English, http://www.flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/3479447773/sizes/m/in/photolist

May 16, 2014:  The “Modi wave” in the just-completed Indian elections was bigger than almost all the projections. Based on final results in almost all constituencies, Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have 282 seats, enough to form a single-party government if it chooses. The National Democratic Alliance, the BJP and its pre-election allies, will control 336 seats. This result dwarfs any winning majority in the past thirty years. The U.S. is optimistic about the outlook. Now more than ever, India-U.S. relations need high level attention.

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Delhi Snapshot: Tale of Two Elections

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February 10, 2014:  Delhi is completely absorbed by two elections – December’s surprise win at the state level by the upstart Aam Aadmi Party, and the national polls due in April. Congress is down; the BJP is up; the Aam Aadmi (“Common Man”) Party is a potential national wild card. Most observers expect a BJP-led coalition headed by Narendra Modi to form the next government, but some forecasts anticipate a coalition of regional parties, probably with Congress support but not participation. What this means for policy is not altogether clear. A Modi government would surely emphasize economic growth and an assertive foreign policy, but the specifics would depend in part on the scale of their victory. A “third force” coalition would in all likelihood be quite inward-looking.

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India: Modi’s International Profile

Photo from Al Jazeera English, http://www.flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/3479447773/sizes/m/in/photolist

December 9, 2013: In the tremendous buzz that has attended Narendra Modi’s emergence as the BJP’s candidate for prime minister in India’s 2014 elections, foreign policy has been almost entirely absent. Modi’s rare foreign policy statements suggest that his approach will center on economics, India’s cultural heritage, and a tough regional policy. It’s too early to tell what this is likely to mean in practice.

For the United States, a Modi victory would bring pluses and minuses in terms of his policies. But regardless of the outcome of the national election, the U.S. cannot afford to continue restricting its contacts with a politician of Modi’s importance to a relatively low level.

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India’s Sagging Economy – Strategic Consequences

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September 20, 2013: Two decades of rapid economic growth and surging international trade gave India the economic and strategic heft to go with its world-wide vision and voice. The current slump threatens to bring back the lowest economic numbers in twenty years. This sagging performance will burden both India’s domestic politics and its global strategic goals. Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington will provide some short term relief, but all India’s contenders for political power need to be thinking about how to get India’s economy humming again.

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Book reviews: Boo, Inskeep and Berenschot on South Asian Cities

Mumbai, from Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cactusbones/4392053621/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers is an unforgettable walk through the Annawadi neighborhood, next to Mumbai’s airport. Ward Berenschot’s Riot Politics links the ever-present search for patronage in India’s cities to the grisly communal violence that breaks out there from time to time . Steve Inskeep’s Instant City weaves together the ethnic stew, political infighting and scarcity that make up Karachi.

To whet your appetite for all three, see Teresita Schaffer’s review. This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy ©. The International Institute for Strategic Studies; Survival: Global Politics and Strategy is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ .

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