A new star playing to an old script in India

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The story of 2014 in India was the story of Modi’s rise from chief minister of Gujarat to prime minister of India. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Arun Swamy, University of Guam

The story of 2014 in India was the story of Narendra Modi’s rise from chief minister of Gujarat to prime minister of India. Son of a tea stall owner and once associated with the 2002 massacre of Muslims on his watch as chief minister, Modi electrified the electorate during a six-month campaign. Read more…

A new India is rising

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters celebrate the party victory as results continue to come in favor of BJP, in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 23 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Center for Policy Studies, India

India had a landmark year in 2014. A new political, cultural and economic reality is emerging.

The trend of political fragmentation that started with the general election in 1989 and saw a succession of coalition governments over the next 25 years has been decisively reversed. Read more…

India’s laggard states need attention, too

Indian farmers prepare their agricultural field for planting paddy seedlings on the outskirts of Guwahati city, India, 20 July 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Tridivesh Singh Maini, OP Jindal Global University Sonepat

A handful of India’s regions have marched ahead economically, while others have been left behind.

India is heavily dependent upon a few states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But states in East and Northeast India have, for various reasons, not seen the same levels of growth. Read more…

Modi to jumpstart the engine of Indian growth

People walk by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building, in Mumbai, India, 2 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU

India’s economy, which has languished in middling growth for the past few years, is on the mend under new Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

After experiencing real GDP growth of less than 5 per cent in 2013-14, the Indian economy is expected to grow at nearly 5.5 per cent in 2014–15 and then record growth rates in the 6 to 6.5 per cent range until about 2018. Read more…

Modi’s new diplomatic instruments for a new India

A crowd listens to Narendra Modi deliver a speech in Australia during a recent visit. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide and Tridivesh Singh Maini, O.P. Jindal Global University

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking new ways to enhance India’s global diplomacy. Modi is pursuing two paths largely overlooked by analysts of India’s foreign policy: to connect with the Indian diaspora and to encourage links with subnational governments at state and city levels. Read more…

What can India learn from its investment treaty with the UAE?

Indian commuters wait on an over-crowded platform to board a local train at a suburb railway station in Mumbai, India, 8 July 2014. Indian Railways is to request government permission for private investment, both domestic and foreign, to help expansion and improve safety and amenities. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kavaljit Singh, Madhyam

In December 2013, despite an ongoing official review of its existing agreements, the Indian government signed a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the United Arab Emirates. Information on the deal was recently made public by the Ministry of Finance after persistent efforts by civil society groups. Read more…

Sri Lanka tilts to Beijing

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Author: David Brewster, ANU

A sea change is occurring in Sri Lanka’s strategic orientation. Recent developments suggest that Sri Lanka is becoming China’s new best friend and security partner in the eastern Indian Ocean. This would represent a major change in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and could have significant consequences for regional security. Read more…

A new vision for Australia-India relations

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Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

Australia and India have not always been the best of friends.

Seven Indian prime ministers from across the political spectrum and spanning three decades have come and gone without paying a state visit to Canberra, a record broken only now with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Australia following the Brisbane G20 Summit. Four unreciprocated visits were made by Australian prime ministers during the latter half of this period. Read more…

India ready to tackle a QE-less future

Indian Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley speaks during an event unveiling a Victoria Cross memorial plaque and individual memorials in New Delhi on October 30, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Ashima Goyal, IGIDR

India was one of the hardest hit of the emerging markets after the US Federal Reserve first hinted it would cut back its quantitative easing program in May 2013. There were three reasons for this. First, global markets over-reacted. Second, India had many macroeconomic weaknesses. Third, since its capital markets were deep and liquid enough, they offered an avenue for portfolio managers targeting reduced exposure to emerging markets.

But since this blow, there have been corrections in all three areas. So the final withdrawal of US quantitative easing (QE), which the US Federal Reserve announced at the end of October, will not have a similar effect on the Indian economy. Read more…

No easy task for India’s labour reforms

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Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG

Investors find labour laws in India restrictive. Although progress has been made since reforms began in 1991, the labour market is still subjected to around 250 labour rules at the central and state level. India, a democracy, has found it harder than China — where labour laws are more flexible and business friendly — to undertake important reforms. Read more…

India’s look east policy needs a multilateral vantage point

Indian Premier Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif prior to a meeting in New Delhi, India, 27 May 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanjay Pulipaka, ICRIER, New Delhi

Active interest by India’s new leadership has provided an adrenaline shot to the flagging discourse on South Asian regionalism. During interactions with South Asian leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, Modi reiterated the need for greater regional integration in South Asia. Read more…

Time for India to punch above its weight with Japan

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Authors: Keshav Kelkar and Marc McCrum, UBC

Since taking office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made efforts to entice foreign investment into India and to establish closer ties with Japan. Warm diplomatic gestures between Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have garnered considerable attention, with some commentators arguing that Modi’s recent visit to Japan marks the beginning of a new Indo-Japanese relationship aimed at countering China’s growing influence in the region. Others have referred to ‘India’s pivot to Japan’ and ‘Japan’s pivot to India’. Read more…

Modi’s UN speech shows his foreign policy will walk a well-worn path

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, 27 Sept, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Krishnendra Meena, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Many have hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly as a historic shift away from the speeches of past Indian heads of government. But in reality, Modi’s speech is more a continuation of the Indian government’s stance on many international issues, albeit with more flourish and charisma, which comes naturally to Modi when he speaks in Hindi. Read more…