Logbook of an Ambassador
Prime Minister Modi’s domestic priorities and strategic options
India’s Prime Minister has certainly the right domestic priorities and best intentions herein. Implementing his election campaign promise of better governance, he has started to courageously and forcefully tackle endemic corruption, which is the major obstacle to development. Development should be and is Modi’s ultimate goal.
Prime Minister Modi: his Hindu credentials and India’s Hindu-Muslim past
The Prime Minister has had a good start in office. Reputational risks from his anti-Muslim past seem under control; the US and the rest of the world’s governments have accepted to deal with him as the legitimate head of India’s Government. But for history-minded observers, the anti-Muslim legacy remains of interest.
India’s general elections: What is the result?
The result is a landslide victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi. As we predicted, the winner had to be one of the two nation-wide parties; of the two nearly nation-wide parties, BJP and Congress, it had to be BJP. No room was left neither for any regional party nor for the possible third force of the future, the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party AAP. Between the two, BJP and Congress, it had to be BJP, because they had a powerful and charismatic leadership during the campaign, Congress had no such leadership.
India and Switzerland: economic topics of the relationship
India’s share in the global GDP is five percent, a fraction of what it was in 1820, when it started to contract, and a fraction of what it could be today measured against the size of its population or against the example set by China. Strong actors in world trade like EU member States or Switzerland are aware of the gap between reality and the theoretical claim of India’s economy and see it positively as a potential to tap.
India’s up-coming general elections: Which choices?
India’s “natural party of government” is the Congress Party; it has created the Republic, it has ruled it for most of the time and it still is the one with the widest representation in the country. Its critics, however, consider it as “no longer legitimized for government”. They say Congress is the main cause and the main profiteer of corruption.
India’s role in Middle East conflicts
‘Nuclear negotiations with Iran’, ‘Geneva talks’ on Syria, decades-old conflict opposing Israel to its Arab neighbours, just three trouble spots in the Middle East where former big European colonial powers France and Britain are regularly involved in the forefront of negotiations. India is not involved in the forefront.
India and Russia - How much of the past into the future?
Within three days of last October, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shook hands in Moscow with Russian leaders and in Beijing with Chinese leaders. “A tale of two handshakes” is the shortest possible historic and strategic summary of an important moment for India and possibly for the world. The merit of condensing the event to five words goes to the Indian daily quality newspaper “The Hindu”. The paper’s editorialist recognised the fundamental difference between the two handshakes, the first, with Russia, demonstrating “the comfort of a strategic relationship”, the second the economic weight of the two Asian giants in world affairs.
Afghanistan in India’s neighbourhood or rather India in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood?
What sort of partner is today’s Government of Afghanistan to India? From Afghanistan came the founding dynasty of the Great Mughal Empire, which dominated the Indian Subcontinent from the 16th century until the British established British India in the 19th century. From Central Asia through Afghanistan came Islam and expanded into India beyond even the Mughal Empire’s realm, and stayed.
India and the USA: Is it an alliance?
How close are India and the USA to each other in World Affairs today? Allies? Partners? If allied: against which potential common enemy? The history of Indo-US relations over the last 15 years is an amazing one. In the old days of the Cold War - who remembers them?
Again: India and China
India and China have opened talks on their common border in the Himalayas. Are they determined to put an end to decades of rivalry and dispute? Possibly in order to become stronger together against the world? When they fought a war against each other in 1962, they both were poor developing countries and both were excluded from the dynamics of international trade. Half a century later they are said to be driving forces in globalising economy and politics, leaving the USA and Europe behind when it comes to economic growth figures, challenging the USA and Europe when it comes to political leadership in the world. India and China look like partners when joining hands within the group of the BRIC(S) countries.