India September 2022-

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India March 2021-September 2022

India: The Modi Question (video episodes 1 & 2)
A look at the tensions between Indian PM Narendra Modi and India’s Muslim minority, investigating claims about his role in the 2002 riots that left over a thousand dead.
(BBC) Narendra Modi is the leader of the world’s largest democracy, a man who has been elected twice as India’s prime minister and is widely seen as the most powerful politician of his generation. Seen by the west as an important bulwark against Chinese domination of Asia, he has been courted as a key ally by both the US and the UK.
Yet Narendra Modi’s premiership has been dogged by persistent allegations about the attitude of his government towards India’s Muslim population. This series investigates the truth behind these allegations and examines Modi’s backstory to explore other questions about his politics when it comes to India’s largest religious minority. (17 January 2023)

25 May
As India is set to host Quad Summit in 2024, innovative measures & renewed focus on policy and action are warranted.
C Uday Bhaskar
(The Quint) …the Quad nations (Australia, India, Japan, and the USA) met on the sidelines of the G7, and the joint statement issued on 20 May by the four leaders is a significant indicator of reiterating their collective resolve to uphold international law and ensure that the Indo-Pacific remains a free and open domain.

22 May
China and Saudi Arabia boycott G20 meeting held by India in Kashmir
Indian presidency of group becomes mired in controversy as tourism session hosted in disputed territory
India’s presidency of the G20 group of leading nations has become mired in controversy after China and Saudi Arabia boycotted a meeting staged in Kashmir, the first such gathering since India unilaterally brought Kashmir under direct control in August 2019.
The meeting, a tourism working group attended by about 60 delegates from most G20 countries taking place from Monday to Wednesday, required a large show of security at Srinagar international airport.
China has said it will not attend, citing its firm opposition “to holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory”. In April, Pakistan, which also lays claim to Kashmir but is not a G20 member, described the meeting as irresponsible. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Indonesia were also expected to stay away.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed India had turned the region into the equivalent of the Guantánamo Bay prison simply to hold a meeting on tourism. She also accused the Bharatiya Janata party, the party of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, of hijacking the G20 for its promotional purposes.
Last week Fernand de Varennes, the UN’s special rapporteur on minority issues, issued a statement saying the G20 was “unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy” when human rights violations, political persecution and illegal arrests were escalating in Kashmir.

13-16 May
Modi’s Hindu nationalist party loses India’s Karnataka state ahead of national vote
(NPR) India’s main opposition Congress party wrested control of the crucial southern Karnataka state from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, according to a near complete vote count Saturday that boosted its prospects ahead of national elections due next year.
The poll results are expected to energize the largely divided opposition that is banking on forming a united front to challenge Modi in next year’s general election in which he will seek to extend his prime ministership for a third consecutive term. They will also help prospects of the Congress party, which was routed by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in the last two national polls and is striving to regain its political prominence nationwide.
Opposition wins big in southern India
(GZERO media) India’s opposition Congress Party swept last week’s Karnataka election, booting the ruling BJP party from the only state it controlled in southern India. Expect this to have ripple effects ahead of 2024, when uber-popular PM Narendra Modi will seek a third term in office.
The result is a bigger deal than you might think. For one thing, Karnataka is home to Bengaluru, India’s tech hub, which Modi tried to woo with a whopping 19 campaign stops in the state over seven days. The PM hoped that if the BJP could stay in power in Karnataka, he could target neighboring Telangana and Tamil Nadu, where the BJP’s Hindu-first message has so far fallen flat.
It’s also the best news that the once-dominant Congress has gotten since Modi and the BJP swept to power in 2014. The party, which admits it cannot beat Modi alone, has now demonstrated that it can flip BJP-run states, so it can lead a coalition of opposition parties to have at least a fighting chance of defeating the BJP in next year’s general election.
(Bloomberg politics) Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party won a crucial state election, boosting its chances of unseating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a national vote next year. Though Congress still faces a long road ahead, the victory in Karnataka was one of the most significant since Modi took power nearly a decade ago.

6 May
The Upside of Rivalry
India’s Great-Power Opportunity
By Nirupama Rao, India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009 to 2011. She also served as India’s Ambassador to China and the United States. She is the author of The Fractured Himalaya: India, Tibet, China, 1949–1962.
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2023) As India prepares to hold the G-20’s 18th summit, the government has put up signs and posters across the country that speak about international harmony. In announcing India’s G-20 vision, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote that his country would catalyze a new mindset within humanity, help the world move beyond greed and confrontation, and cultivate a “universal sense of one-ness.” The theme, Modi said, was “One Earth, One Family, One Future.” Rather than war and rivalry, the prime minister declared, the greatest challenges humanity faces today are climate change, terrorism, and pandemics—issues that “can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together.”
To Western officials, these hymns to cooperation and shared challenges surely sound off-key. But India has limited patience for U.S. and European narratives, which are both myopic and hypocritical.
The divisions of the Cold War have not been revived; instead, today’s world is a complex network of interconnections where trade, technology, migration, and the Internet are bringing humans together as never before. Europe and Washington may be right that Russia is violating human rights in Ukraine, but Western powers have carried out similarly violent, unjust, and undemocratic interventions—from Vietnam to Iraq. New Delhi is therefore uninterested in Western calls for Russia’s isolation. To strengthen itself and address the world’s shared challenges, India has the right to work with everyone.

14 April
Book review: Is India’s Rise Inevitable?
a new book by the economist Ashoka Mody that is well positioned to become an exemplar for the glass-half-empty view of India. India Is Broken methodically demolishes the bumper-sticker version of India’s story that CEOs and politicians conjure at glitzy international conferences such as the World Economic Forum in Davos. It takes readers on a tour of India’s dark underbelly, where corruption has triumphed over compassion, and democracy exists in theory but rarely in practice.
By Milan Vaishnav
(Foreign Affairs) Of the many tropes that have cluttered foreign policy analysis in recent decades, few are as widespread or as enduring as the inevitability of India’s rise. Built on a foundation of liberal democracy, fueled by a population of more than a billion people occupying a vast territory, and enabled by the United States’ desire to find a counterbalance to an expansionist China, India has been inching toward the geopolitical spotlight. Now, a confluence of recent events has convinced some observers—and arguably India’s own leadership—that its moment has finally arrived.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India is set to be the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2023. Its GDP is expected to expand by 6.1 percent, well above the emerging market average of four percent and five times the pace of the industrialized world’s average of 1.2 percent. Amid China’s protracted slowdown, COVID-19 missteps, and rising labor costs, global firms interested in relocating their manufacturing facilities, including Apple and Foxconn, are considering expanding operations in India.
This year, India will simultaneously hold the presidencies of the G-20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Eurasian political and security group historically dominated by China and Russia—a symbolic victory for its efforts to be seen as a leading, rather than a balancing, power on the global stage.
On closer inspection, the narrative hyping India’s inexorable rise appears less assured. Reckoning with India’s contradictions is an exercise in cognitive dissonance. Economically, it is a mixed bag. On the one hand, India is on track to become the world’s third-largest economy by the decade’s end. On the other, India’s services-heavy development model is hamstrung by weak job growth, premature deindustrialization, and a vast informal sector.
… Even India’s refusal to unequivocally condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not damaged the country’s international standing. To the contrary, Western interlocutors are convinced that the combination of Russia’s Ukraine quagmire and China’s flagrant aggression on the Sino-Indian border makes the time ripe to wean India off its addiction to Russian arms and consolidate its anti-China posture.
Politically, meanwhile, India is touted as a shining democratic beacon in the Asia Pacific. But it is also one of the world’s most disappointing illiberal backsliders, with growing religious majoritarianism, weakening separation of powers, and a muzzled media. Few democracies can rival the array of affirmative action measures that India’s constitution affords historically disadvantaged minorities or match the diversity of its top leadership. Yet Muslims in Indian cities are increasingly ghettoized, women make up a minuscule share of the workforce, and manual scavenging—in which workers remove human excrement by hand—is a legally prohibited, yet widely observed, form of blue-collar employment.
Even with India’s demographic edge, its rise is not inevitable. … “India has been inching toward the geopolitical spotlight” for some time, and many are convinced that “its moment has finally arrived”—but there are inherent frailties in India’s economic and political systems that will likely constrain its growth. Moreover, Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman note, although India’s population is large, its market of middle-class consumers remains surprisingly small, meaning that demographics alone will not turn India into the next China (Why India Can’t Replace China – The Barriers to New Delhi’s Next Boom December 2022)

21 March
Exclusive: India resists calls for more air access in drive to be global aviation force
By Aditi Shah and Tim Hepher
(Reuters) – India dampened foreign airline hopes for more access to its airports on Tuesday, with its aviation minister urging domestic carriers to fly long-haul and help establish new hubs as it seeks to recapture control of Indian travel from foreign rivals.
It is also asking aerospace companies to step-up local production and will soon finalise rules to safeguard rights of lessors on repossession of jets, in a bid to level up with major global aviation markets, Jyotiraditya Scindia told Reuters.
The South Asian nation is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world where demand for air travel is outstripping the supply of planes, but the bulk of international traffic is captured by global carriers with efficient hubs.

16 March
U.S. Finally Confirms an Ambassador to India. Here’s What Indians Think of Eric Garcetti
(TIME) Garcetti’s job isn’t likely to be easy, having already provoked the ire of some Indians due to comments he’s made in the past. During Garcetti’s confirmation hearings in 2021, he said he would “actively raise” human rights issues in New Delhi, in response to a question about the Citizenship Amendment Act, which the Indian parliament passed in 2019. The law, a cornerstone and campaign promise by the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), grants immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh a shot at applying for Indian citizenship—but only if they are Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, or Buddhist. It was criticized for making Muslims from those countries into “illegal migrants” and seemingly relegating India’s Islamic community of some 200 million people into second-class citizens. Widespread protests against the law erupted across the South Asian nation in 2020.
… India’s relationship with the U.S. significantly improved in 2022: Biden met with Modi twice, strengthening trade ties between the two countries, and reinforcing the regional Quad security dialogue with Japan and Australia. Yogesh Joshi, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies, says Garcetti is likely to prioritize this warming alliance, which may see his pursuit of a human rights-focused agenda in New Delhi take a backseat.
Eric Garcetti: US envoy to India confirmed after two-year battle
(BBC) The US has not had an ambassador to India since January 2021 even though the two countries have strong security and trade ties.
Analysts say Mr Biden is eager to further bolster ties with India – a major trading partner – as Washington tries to tackle its neighbour China’s growing influence in the region.
Mr Garcetti’s appointment also comes at a time when Russia has become a major irritant between Delhi and Washington. India’s neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has frustrated the US.
Delhi has not explicitly condemned the war but has talked about the importance of “the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states”.
India is also the biggest market for Russian military equipment and continues to import huge quantities of crude oil from the country, ignoring bans in the US and parts of Europe.

8 March
Modi’s Final Assault on India’s Press Freedom Has Begun
By Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of The Kashmir Times.
(NYT) On the evening of Oct. 19, 2020, as reporters and photographers for The Kashmir Times rushed to meet deadlines, government officials and the police swept into the newspaper’s offices in the city of Srinagar, chased out the staff and put a lock on the door that remains to this day.
To me, the raid was punishment for daring to question the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. The newspaper, for which I am the executive editor, has been an independent voice in the state of Jammu and Kashmir since it was founded by my father in 1954, weathering several tumultuous decades of war and military occupation. But it may not survive Mr. Modi.

2 March
At G20 meeting, India’s Modi says ‘global governance has failed’
Indian leader calls on bloc to find common ground on global issues as he inaugurates the meeting set to be dominated by Ukraine war.
Speaking at the opening of the Group of 20 (G20) foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, Modi said that countries should acknowledge that multilateralism is currently “in crisis”.
India holds the G20 presidency this year. But New Delhi’s longstanding security ties with Moscow have put the host of Thursday’s meeting in an awkward position.
India, being a major buyer of Russian armaments and energy, has not directly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Russia’s war in Ukraine is expected to be an important point of discussion at the meeting.
New Delhi is also keen to steer the talks towards issues affecting the Global South, such as poverty eradication and climate change.

25 February
G20 meeting ends without consensus over Russia’s war in Ukraine
At meeting of world’s largest economies, China and Russia refuse to sign statement condemning Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

23 February
India abstains in UN General Assembly on Ukraine resolution over its inherent limitations in reaching goal of securing lasting peace
India among the 32 nations that abstain as the 193-member General Assembly adopts the resolution
(Tribune, India) India has abstained in the UN General Assembly on a resolution that underscored the need to reach “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in Ukraine, as it questioned whether the world was “anywhere near a possible solution” acceptable to both Moscow and Kyiv a year into the Ukrainian conflict
C Uday Bhaskar: Polarisation has deepened
For India, the Putin invasion of Ukraine was and is a complex challenge and the Modi government has walked the politico-strategic tightrope in a deft manner in the first year by way of ensuring that its ties with both the US and Russia remain on an even keel. However, this may prove to be more difficult in the second year when New Delhi is seeking to burnish its own profile as the G20 president.
The more immediate security concern for Delhi is the Chinese incursion in Ladakh. Besides, the Ukraine war has placed India in a difficult position, given the strategic and military dependence on Russia. The resumption of diplomatic talks with China (External Affairs Ministry Joint Secretary Shilpak Ambule’s Beijing visit) is encouraging.
The texture of the Beijing-Moscow relationship in the second year of the Ukraine war may prove detrimental to Delhi’s aspirations for demonstrating strategic autonomy and becoming a credible interlocutor in the current impasse.

22 February
Nouriel Roubini: India is a big global player – but there are problems it must tackle
Now Modi’s government has modernised it must make growth sustainable, inclusive and fair
(Project Syndicate/Guardian) One must credit the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, for implementing policies that have modernised India and supported its growth. Specifically, Modi has made massive investments in the single market (including through de-monetisation and tax reform) and infrastructure (not just roads, electricity, education and sanitation, but also digital capacity). These investments – with industrial policies to accelerate manufacturing, a comparative advantage in tech and IT, and a customised digital-based welfare system – have led to robust economic performance after the Covid-19 slump.
In some ways, this concentration of economic power has served India well. Owing to superior financial management, the economy has grown fast, despite investment rates (as a share of GDP) that were much lower than China’s. The implication is that India’s investments have been much more efficient; indeed, many of India’s conglomerates boast world-class levels of productivity and competitiveness.
But the dark side of this system is that these conglomerates have been able to capture policy making to benefit themselves. This has had two broad, harmful effects: it is stifling innovation and effectively killing early-stage startups and domestic entrants in key industries; and it is changing the government’s Make in India programme into a counterproductive, protectionist scheme.

21 February
India Is Speaking Loudly and Carrying a Bigger Stick
By Michelle Jamrisko
(Bloomberg New Economy newsletter) India, which is preparing to welcome the world’s finance titans in Bengaluru later this week, is using its fresh platform as Group of 20 host to push a range of changes to the traditional global order.
In a challenge to the decades-long norms led by the US and other Western powers, India has nominated itself as leader of the Global South — developing countries largely located in the Southern Hemisphere — and argued that these countries deserve greater say in international matters.

19 February
India enjoyed a free and vibrant media. Narendra Modi’s brazen attacks are a catastrophe
Kenan Malik
The prime minister’s cynical raids on the BBC are the latest populist clampdown on a press and broadcasting ‘elite’
Since Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP party came to power in 2014, he has pursued a relentless campaign to curb the independence of India’s media. “Criticise us and we’ll come after you,” is the banner under which the government operates. As the Editors Guild of India put it, the BBC raids (which the government, in BJP Newspeak, calls not “raids” but “surveys”) are part of a well-established “trend of using government agencies to intimidate and harass press organisations that are critical of government policies or the ruling establishment”. The government – and many BJP-controlled state administrations – have also sought to intimidate journalists through the use of sedition and national security laws.

16 February
Debt in focus as G20 finance chiefs meet in India
(Reuters) – G20 finance and central bank chiefs meet in India next week at the first-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to discuss rising debt troubles among developing countries, the regulation of cryptocurrencies and the global slowdown. The Feb. 22-25 meeting in the Nandi Hills summer retreat near Bengaluru…will be followed by a March 1-2 meeting of foreign ministers in New Delhi.
As global borrowing costs rise, India – whose neighbours Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh have all sought International Monetary Fund support in recent months – wants to put debt relief at the forefront of discussions at the finance talks.
New Delhi also supports a push by the IMF, the World Bank and the United States for the so-called Common Framework (CF) – a G20 initiative launched in 2020 to help poor countries delay debt repayments – to be expanded to include middle-income countries, though China has resisted.

15 February
Jayati Ghosh: The Crisis of India’s Oligarchy
(Project Syndicate) The meteoric rise and spectacular fall of billionaire Gautam Adani should serve as a cautionary tale about the excessive influence of oligarchs in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India. While it is too soon to assess the political fallout, the fate of the Adani Group is an indictment of Modi’s development strategy.
Over the past two decades, Indian multi-billionaire Gautam Adani’s close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi have helped the Gujarati businessman become Asia’s wealthiest person. Adani’s meteoric rise, which in some ways eclipsed that of his political mentor, also made him the poster boy for India’s growth story – until allegations of fraud and stock manipulation brought his eponymous business empire to its knees. With his conglomerate losing $110 billion in market value within days, Adani has become a cautionary tale about the perils of cronyism in Modi’s India.

8 February
The World’s Biggest Democracy Is Jettisoning Freedom and Tolerance
By Lydia Polgreen
(NYT) … India is indeed the nation of the moment. It is a critical player in just about every major issue facing the planet. Its economy is now bigger than that of the country that colonized it, making it the fifth largest in the world. It is expected to outrank China in population this year, if it hasn’t already. The Ukraine crisis has shown how desperately great powers around the world want to count on it as an ally. There will be no successful solution to climate change without India. It holds the presidency of the Group of 20, and its summit in Delhi this year promises to be a major moment on the global stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apple reportedly plans to make up to a quarter of its iPhones in India — a huge endorsement of the country’s growing technology manufacturing prowess. India was the toast of the Davos World Economic Forum this year; the writer Fareed Zakaria declared that it “might be the most optimistic country in the world right now.” …
“India: The Modi Question,” which was made by the BBC tells the story — now familiar to anyone who follows Indian politics — of how riots broke out in Gujarat in February 2002 after dozens of Hindu pilgrims died in a fire on a train. The cause of the fire was disputed, but some people blamed Muslims, prompting spasms of violence targeting them. More than 1,000 people died, and an estimated 150,000 lost their homes. An overwhelming majority of the victims were Muslims.
Even though the documentary…could not easily be watched in India, the government cracked down hard. It used emergency powers to ask that Twitter and YouTube block links to bootlegged clips, and the platforms quickly complied. …
Under Modi’s government, violence against Muslims in India has risen and is often unpunished. His government has enacted laws and policies that target Muslims, including changes to citizenship rules that disadvantage Muslims and revocation of the special status of Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region contested by India and Pakistan.
But it would be a mistake to think only Muslims are under threat in India. The government has systematically cracked down on all manner of free speech and dissent, increasing its emergency powers to block information it wants to keep from the Indian people and making it easier to hold dissidents under murky antiterrorism laws.

India’s Modi lashes opposition as Adani allegations persist
PM rails against critics over Adani Group accusations
Opposition says government unduly close to tycoon
Conglomerate accused of stock manipulation
(Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that Indians will not swallow “lies and abuse” against him, as opposition critics accuse his government of giving undue favours to a business group led by billionaire tycoon Gautam Adani.
Modi spent a nearly 90-minute speech to parliament mainly listing governments achievements and without naming the under-fire Adani Group. However, opposition lawmakers who are demanding an investigation into the business group interrupted him several times shouting slogans.
Gautam Adani’s woes were in banks’ plain sight
(Reuters Breakingviews) Anyone who did a bit of due diligence on Adani knew that reputational concerns could hinder the company’s ability to rally external support if its access to capital was ever in doubt. Meanwhile, the downside from the banks’ entanglement with Adani continues to rise. On Tuesday, opposition politicians demanding a probe into the group disrupted India’s parliament for a fourth day. Domestic lenders are downplaying the risk of default, but foreign banks look less comfortable with the man whose rise they helped finance. The question of why they were doing his business will only grow louder.

3 February
More Than 500 Indian Scientists, Academics Slam Govt for Blocking BBC Documentary on Modi
(The Wire) The justification that the documentary “undermines the sovereignty and integrity of India” does not withstand scrutiny, they said in a statement.
They said that the removal of the two-part documentary, titled India: the Modi Question, violates the right of Indian citizens to access and discuss important information about society and government.
They also slammed the decisions taken by university administrations to prevent the screening of the documentary. “This violates the principles of academic freedom. Universities should encourage open discussions on social and political questions. Such discussions are crucial for the proper functioning of a democratic society. It is unacceptable for Universities to block the expression of some views, merely because they are critical of the government,” the scientists and academics said.

25 January
Narendra Modi’s Censorship Has Reached an Alarming New Level
In India. On American social media. He even muzzled the Internet Archive.
(Slate) Modern-day Indian democracy has no compunction about mass censorship. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has weakened the country’s once robust press, persecuting adversarial reporters and independent outlets. Though such hostility has become so pervasive as to become old news itself, the government’s latest attack on free speech and journalism has been greeted with widespread alarm—and for good reason.
Last week, the BBC broadcast the first hour of a new two-part documentary, India: The Modi Question, to TVs across Britain and on its website; the second half of the series aired Tuesday. The doc as a whole probes Modi’s stints in political power, from his time as chief minister of the state of Gujarat to his current tenure as prime minister, and his mistreatment of India’s Muslims along the way. Given the overwhelming international documentation of Islamophobic persecution under Modi’s watch, it couldn’t have been a surprise that The Modi Question features ample reporting on the now–prime minister’s history of bigoted governance; the BBC is hardly the first outlet to spotlight this. Yet just days after the first portion aired, Indian government ministers disparaged the film as “propaganda” with a “lack of objectivity” and a “colonial mindset.” (In response, the BBC pointed out that its movie included responses from members of Modi’s political outfit, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, and that the government declined its request for a reply.)

C Uday Bhaskar: In Indian Constitution vs Collegium Debate, Can the Govt & Judiciary Reconcile?
While SC system nominating own peers needs review, so does legislature intimidating judiciary for subaltern position
The run-up to the 74th Republic Day has been discordant in a visible manner as evidenced in recent weeks, with the interpretation of the Indian constitution and the inviolability of its ‘Basic Structure’ being contested by the leading lights of the legislature.


29 December
Independent journalists in India are being targeted for their critical reporting
(NPR) Investigative reporter and Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub “at this point of time, the kind of press censorship that we are witnessing in India, where journalists are being silenced, arrested for stories they have not even reported – when one of India’s leading industrialists close to Narendra Modi has taken over one of the few independent press bodies’ news channels in India and when the prime minister of the country has not taken a single press conference in the last eight years, who does not believe he needs to address the media – I feel like there is nothing like press freedom in the world’s largest democracy of 1.3 billion people. We need to have a robust press, and that is absent because most of the mainstream media is literally repeating the government’s line, and the ones who are independent, who are critical, are paying a price for doing that.”

25 December
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky seeks India PM Modi’s help with ‘peace formula’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said he sought India’s help with implementing a “peace formula” in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I had a phone call with PM Narendra Modi and wished a successful G20 presidency,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula and now I count on India’s participation in its implementation.”

24 November
On foreign policy, India is reliably unreliable
The shifting balance of power obscures the continuity in India’s global ambitions
(The Economist) When India formally takes the helm of the g20 on December 1st, it will do so as a prominent, sought-after actor on the world stage. Having refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it was praised this month for its contribution to a joint declaration of leaders in Bali that did so implicitly. It then helped create a fund at the UN climate talks in Egypt to compensate developing countries for climate-related damage. This week Jon Finer, America’s deputy national security adviser, described India as “very high” on America’s list of partners that “can truly help move forward a global agenda”.
Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party often attribute India’s growing stature to a more assertive foreign policy that dispenses with the deference and dithering which, they say, characterised the approach of previous governments. Mr Modi, a charismatic Hindu nationalist who claims to want to be the “world’s guru”, is said to epitomise that change. “In India’s case, nationalism has in fact led to greater internationalism,” said the foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in a landmark speech on the evolution of Indian foreign policy. Yet setting aside its nationalist rhetoric, the Modi government’s approach and objectives abroad are remarkably similar to its predecessors’. …(pay wall)

20 November
C Uday Bhaskar: Geopolitical rift at G20 meet
As India assumes the G20 responsibility on December 1, the historical recall with November 17, 1962, when Delhi had to face the ignominy of a national security meltdown in dealing with China cannot be ignored. While India has the pedigree and the potential to play a valuable global role, this cannot be at the cost of jeopardising its own core national interests that are abiding.
The major strategic dissonance in Bali was the tension between US and China
The baton of the G20 president was formally handed over to PM Modi in Bali by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo on November 16 and the outcome of this summit is relevant to India at many levels that are interlinked. The G20 agenda, much to the dismay of the host, was overshadowed by the bilateral meeting between the US President and his Chinese counterpart, as also the long-drawn-out war in Ukraine and a missile strike on Poland. However to his credit, President Widodo was able to ‘herd the cats’, as it were, and steer the deliberations towards a final joint communiqué which is a remarkable demonstration of his resolve in dealing with all kinds of high-octane challenges and political minefields in the months preceding the Bali summit. …
The most critical part of the joint statement issued by the G20 Summit was more geopolitical in nature, and from the Indian perspective, there was also an implicit acknowledgement of PM Modi’s exhortation to Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding war not being an option in this day and age. The relevant section asserted: ‘The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.’

29 September
On the front lines of the fight against strongman politics
(CBC Radio Ideas) The world’s largest democracy, India, has seen its relatively stable democratic freedoms decline with the rise of Narendra Modi.
The suspension of historical autonomy and further restrictions on political freedoms in Jammu and Kashmir; the marginalizing of religious minorities — especially Muslims — as Modi’s political rhetoric enfolds a Hindu-first narrative; and the implementation of a national register of citizens which has critics fearing generation-long residents of India will be stripped of their citizenship, are all examples cited by critics as examples of Modi’s shift toward authoritarian governance.

India’s New CDS: Will Gen Chauhan Inherit Rawat’s Monumental Military Legacy?
While Rawat soldiered on as Chief Adviser to the Raksha Mantri, quite evidently, this was an overload of high order
C Uday Bhaskar
(The Quint) The Modi government appointed Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (Retired)as the next Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) on Wednesday, 28 September, thereby filling a critical post in the highest echelons of the national security lattice that has remained vacant since the tragic death of the first incumbent, General Bipin Rawat in an ill-fated helicopter crash in December last year.
The fact that the government took almost 10 months to arrive at this decision is reflective, presumably, of the internal deliberations that may have taken place to identify the new incumbent, who will now inherit many transformative challenges in re-wiring the Indian military and enhancing its combined efficacy as India’s second CDS.

26 September
Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.
Somdeep Sen, Associate Professor of International Development Studies at Roskilde University
(Al Jazeera) … The scourge of Hindu nationalism has gone global.
… Undoubtedly, the rise of Hindu nationalism globally has much to do with the rise of Modi.
Since becoming prime minister in 2014, he has overseen a highly controversial citizenship reform that discriminates against Muslim asylum seekers, scrapped the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and built a temple at the location of a historic mosque demolished by Hindu hardliners in 1992. All while going after opposition leaders, activists and critics.
Modi’s success in delivering on Hindutva’s promises at home has inspired his supporters in the diaspora to exude a sense of chauvinistic pride abroad.
However, world leaders are guilty too, of legitimising Modi, giving this subsection of Hindu expatriates the conviction that their bigoted vision has some global cache. From Trump to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and from former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, multiple right-wing politicians have presented themselves as “friends” of Modi.
Hindu nationalism cannot be ignored any more as a domestic, Indian issue. The movement has gone international – and is taking an increasingly violent form in other countries too. It is now a threat to democratic principles, equality and human rights everywhere. India under Modi will not address it. The world must.

24 September
The New India: Expanding Influence Abroad, Straining Democracy at Home
As India rises, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced little pushback as he weaponizes institutions to consolidate power and entrench his Hindu nationalist vision.
By Mujib Mashal
(NYT) On the margins of a summit meant as a show of force for a Russian leader seeking a turnaround on the battlefield, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India leaned in with a different message.
“Democracy, diplomacy and dialogue” — not war — is the answer, he told Vladimir V. Putin as the cameras rolled this month, before declaring that the two would speak more about how to bring peace in Ukraine.
That assured interaction in Uzbekistan was the latest display of India’s rise under Mr. Modi. An ambitious and assertive power, India has become increasingly indispensable in the search for answers to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from diplomacy to climate change to technology and trade to efforts at diversifying supply chains to counter China.
It is India’s credentials as the world’s largest democracy that Mr. Modi rides on the global stage. But at home, diplomats, analysts and activists say, Mr. Modi’s government is undertaking a project to remake India’s democracy unlike any in its 75 years of independence — stifling dissent, sidelining civilian institutions and making minorities second-class citizens.

20 September
What is Hindu nationalism and how does it relate to trouble in Leicester?
Hindutva is the predominant form in India and has been associated with rightwing extremism

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