Global Outlook 2017: Indian leader braces for tough challenges

An Indian customer withdraws money in a mobile ATM unit set up in a car by Punjab National Bank
Kolkata, Nov. 25, 2016: a Punjab National Bank employee swipes a card of a man withdrawing Indian rupee banknotes in a mobile ATM unit (source: dpa)
  • Campaigns against cronyism and an informal sector entrenched in the Indian economy, launched on top of an ambitious tax reform, carry the potential to transform the country in the long term
  • These reforms may also backfire on the immensely popular Prime Minister Narendra Modi if the implementation process proves economically costly or takes too long
  • India’s ongoing conflict with Pakistan and cooling relations with China pose a significant security threat

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing three sets of fundamental challenges in 2017. On the economic front, he is pushing a package of radical structural reforms that threatens to backfire on the government.

In the domestic political arena, some key Indian states will go to the polls, and the outcomes will gauge the endurance of Mr. Modi’s popularity. Lastly, the prime minister’s foreign policy honeymoon has come to an end as relations with India’s archrivals, Pakistan and China, have begun to deteriorate.

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