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Foreign Policy a la Modi
India's "Muscle Man" Looks Abroad

It will take a man with a 56-inch chest to turn India’s economy around, Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been fond of saying on the campaign trail. And these strength requirements apparently don’t end at India’s borders—Modi’s advisors are intimating that their man will be strong and assertive foreign matters as well. Reuters:

The advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the BJP’s manifesto is still under wraps, said Modi would move quickly to lay out India’s core security interests in its neighbourhood, replacing what they dismissed as a reactive policy under the Congress party.

Topping the list will be an early settlement of the border dispute with China, an assertion of India’s primacy in the Indian Ocean, and a low tolerance of Muslim militancy that India believes is often backed by Pakistan.

“You will see a more nationalistic approach on issues relating to terrorism in our neighbourhood. It is a much more hard view of these things,” said one of the advisers.

On the one hand, it’s easy to talk tough when you’re not sitting in power—a lot of this kind of rhetoric is more about posturing for the electorate than anything else. But even vague campaign gestures can have consequences. A new administration might feel it has to demonstrate a degree of follow-through in its early months in office.

In a more settled time none this would need remarking on—it’s par for the course in international relations. But given how geopolitics in Asia have been heating up lately, a Modi administration keen on throwing its weight around might just spark off something unwelcome and unexpected if it’s not careful. It’s certainly something to look out for.

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  • Jagneel

    Just because he was complicit in burning and killing of thousands of Muslims, doesn’t mean he can’t be PM of the land of Gandhi !!!
    Besides life is cheap in India and lives of Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are on further discount.
    Riots that burn and kill innocent bystanders can start at drop of ..well..a cow’s head.

    • Andrew Allison

      Agreed, but don’t you (and The AMERICAN Interest) think it’s time that we let other countries destroy themselves as they see fit?

    • Rajdeep Sardesai

      You forgot to mention 2000 moslems. You forgot to say modi personally stabbed all those 2000 moslems.

      • Jagneel

        Yeh. India shining. Bharat mata ki jai.

  • Andrew Allison

    And the meaningful content of this post is?

    • El Gringo

      Conservative politician makes conservative political statements. More at eleven.

  • Rajdeep Sardesai

    It is high time modi happened in india. It is long overdue.

  • Rajdeep Sardesai

    Western support for the terrorist state of pakistan has been a tax on indian citizen for more than 60 years. It has impeded development and reduced standard of living. Indians believe in the law of karma. Unless the west can offer meaningful solutions such as the dismemberment of pakistan, I am not sure west has anything to offer india.

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