India’s first wave of economic reforms were triggered by an economic crisis during which economic growth fell to just 1.1 per cent in 1991. With some estimates suggesting that India’s economy will contract by a staggering 45 per cent year-on-year contraction for the current quarter, there are some signs that the current crisis could trigger a change of direction in terms of economic management – though in which direction is much less clear.
Since Narendra Modi was first elected in 2014 there had been expectations – perhaps more from external observers than domestic commentators – that he would undertake the ambitious economic reforms that had eluded his predecessors.… Seguir leyendo »
The outbreak of communal violence in Delhi this week is the worst in India’s capital for decades. It both reflects and will reinforce India’s polarization.
That polarization is between the view that India represents homogeneity, grounded on the fact that its citizens are overwhelmingly (around four-fifths) Hindu (the view of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] of Narendra Modi), and the alternative that India represents diversity – its population includes hundreds of millions of non-Hindus and speakers of dozens if not hundreds of different languages.
India’s polarization is reflected in the reaction to the three days of violence in northeast Delhi, which left hundreds injured and, at the time of writing, 34 dead.… Seguir leyendo »
India’s approach to the regional groupings of which it is a member is self-evidently instrumentalist. With limited resources each of the organizations or groups which India promotes serve a particular economic, political or cultural purpose.
Thus, IBSA (comprising India, Brazil and South Africa) comprises a group of like-minded, Southern democracies, useful to align approaches in forums such as the UN. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) offered a means of showcasing not political alignment but economic potential. Regional forums – the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation – each offer different means for India to develop or demonstrate its regional role.… Seguir leyendo »
In 2016 India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, pledged to double farmers’ incomes by 2022. While the pledge may have been aspirational, reliant on good weather as much as government policy, the 2018/19 budget demonstrates the depth of the government’s commitment to the agriculture sector.
There’s clearly a political edge to any moves to bolster agriculture: any solace to rural India will be described as political opportunism until most people in India are not engaged directly or indirectly in the agricultural sector.
And with a number of state elections coming up this year and a general election next – suggestions that it will be brought forward have increased in volume since the budget – a politically-astute budget is unsurprising.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost exactly 70 years ago, Indian troops arrived in Kashmir to support its ruler’s decision to accede to India. The subsequent division of Kashmir between India and Pakistan has sparked occasional conflict between the two countries, and since 1989 Indian Kashmir has suffered from an ongoing insurgency, reflecting both discontent among Indian Kashmiris at poor governance as well as meddling from Pakistan.
The grievances of Kashmiris are manifold – unemployment and corruption are major concerns – and over the years the state response to protests involved human rights abuses which have fed into the cycle of resentment. While successive Indian governments have recognized the need for a political dialogue – and some form of political settlement – they have been loath to start a dialogue while significant protests are taking place.… Seguir leyendo »
Pakistan has placed its forces on high alert after being denounced by India as a ‘terrorist state’ complicit in an attack on a military base at Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir. The accusations have been strongly denied by Pakistan and fuelled a war of words, raising bilateral tensions to levels not seen since the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008.
The attacks coincide with an upsurge in protests in Kashmir triggered by the death of Burhan Wani, a media-savvy and seemingly popular militant. For Pakistan, Kashmir lies at the heart of its disputed relationship with India. Pakistan has traditionally argued that Kashmir needs to be ‘resolved’ to enable the relationship to improve.… Seguir leyendo »