GIS Dossier: Modi’s India

Women anoint a poster of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with spices
Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to a new breed of world leaders adept at building a grassroots following while attacking the powers that be (source: dpa)
  • Narendra Modi has made himself India’s most dominant leader in a generation
  • His effectiveness hinges on combining identity politics with economic pragmatism
  • His tax and currency reforms, while ostensibly pro-business, have strengthened government powers
  • Foreign policy is guided by the need to contain China and align with the U.S.

GIS “Dossiers” aim to give our subscribers a quick overview of key topics, regions or conflicts based on a selection of our experts’ reports since 2011. This is the first survey dedicated to India, the world’s second most populous country and third largest economy measured by purchasing power parity. The past decade has seen it transformed from a regional power into a serious global player that could tilt or steady the balance of power in Eurasia.

Hopes were high when Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a landslide victory in April-May 2014 parliamentary elections, giving his government the first one-party majority India has seen in 30 years. As GIS expert Lisa Curtis wrote in a June 2014 report, Mr. Modi, a pro-business Hindu nationalist, “was voted into power on promises to revive Indian economic growth, rein in corruption, and create jobs for the rapidly growing youth population.” Structural reforms of the creaking, overregulated economy promised to reestablish confidence in India as a global power.

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