What would India look like under a possible Narendra Modi–led government? On Thursday, AEI's Sadanand Dhume hosted a Google Hangout discussion with three leading experts from India, who fielded question on India, its foreign policy, and its civil liberties under Modi's leadership.
Adam Roberts of The Economist said Modi would likely manage the economy more soundly than the incumbent government but that labor law reform and speedy legislative changes will remain challenges. Columnist Swapan Dasgupta explained that Indians are looking to Modi to remove impediments to entrepreneurship and to help release sublimated energy for productive economic use.
Discussing changes in India's foreign policy, columnist Ashok Malik argued that economic prosperity and access to technology would guide Modi's foreign policy to secure India. Dasgupta foresees a fillip to Japan-India relations and felt that the undercurrent of anti-American feeling in India could be offset by an economic and strategic US-India partnership. Roberts expects a stronger stance against Chinese aggression but added that Pakistan is sanguine about Modi's ability to deliver promises.
On civil liberties, Dasgupta stressed that secular principles should be redefined in India so that the state is indifferent to individual religious beliefs. Roberts felt that Modi should talk more candidly about gay rights and the 2002 Gujarat riots to allay fears of intolerance. Malik argued that Modi needs a clear agenda for Muslims as beneficiaries of overall economic growth. The speakers succinctly summarized a prospective Modi government as potentially decisive and liberating from dynastic democracy.
Starting April 7, India’s general election — the world’s largest democratic exercise — is set to be the most momentous in decades. After 10 years of rule by the Indian National Congress, polls indicate that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win a plurality of seats in parliament and lead the next government in New Delhi. The BJP’s Narendra Modi is likely to be prime minister.
What would Modi’s election mean for India and the world, including the US-India relationship? Just 10 days before the elections, tune in to this Google Hangout conversation with three leading experts in India who will discuss the implications of Modi’s rise.
RSVP to watch the event on Google Plus. Not on Google Plus? This online-only event will be livestreamed on AEI.org. No registration is required.
Have a question for the panelists? Tweet your questions to @AEI with #IndiaVotes.
Swapan Dasgupta, Columnist
Ashok Malik, Columnist
Adam Roberts, The Economist
Sadanand Dhume, AEI
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Swapan Dasgupta is a New Delhi–based political columnist and public policy analyst with 30 years of experience. His columns on contemporary India are published in The Telegraph, The Sunday Times of India, The Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle, The Pioneer, Dainik Jagran, and The Free Press Journal. He has held editorial positions in major Indian newspapers and weeklies including The Telegraph, The Times of India, The Indian Express, and India Today. He is also a regular political commentator on Indian networks including NDTV, CNN-IBN, Times Now, and Headlines Today. He was the London correspondent of Indian Express from 1995 to 1996 and managing editor of India Today until 2003. Dasgupta was appointed a member of the India-UK Round Table dialogue by the prime minister of India and served in that position from 1998 to 2004.
Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at AEI. He writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, DC. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, “My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist” (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009) has been published in four countries. He has twice been selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world's top 100 Twitterati. Follow him on Twitter @dhume.
Ashok Malik has been a journalist for 22 years and currently writes for leading Indian and international publications including The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Asian Age, The Pioneer, and YaleGlobal Online. His research focuses on Indian domestic politics, Indian foreign and trade policy, and the broader process of globalization and its policy implications on health, education, and urbanization. Malik’s book “India: Spirit of Enterprise” (Roli Books, 2012) analyzes the growth of India’s leading private-sector industries since 1991 and its effect on the Indian economy.
Adam Roberts is a New Delhi-based South Asia correspondent for The Economist, overseeing political and general coverage from countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. He joined The Economist as a writer in the foreign department in June 1998, focusing particularly on developing countries and transnational issues. After working as The Economist’s Southern Africa correspondent from 2001 to 2005, Roberts served as the news editor of Economist.com until 2010. He has written special reports on Nordic countries and international migration and has also authored the book “The Wonga Coup” (PublicAffairs, 2007).