The election of Narendra Modi as prime minister of India has enormous implications for his country, for Asia, and for Israel.
With an absolute majority in the lower house of the Indian parliament, Mr. Modi can govern effectively without worrying about coalition partners. His record of thirteen years as governor of Gujarat state holds promise of effective and progressive governance of the country as a whole. His governing policies in Gujarat included reducing governmental red tape and the number of state employees, welcoming foreign investment and reducing taxes. Gujarat now produces 25% of India’s exports; unemployment and the level of poverty are well below the Indian average.
Mr. Modi’s economic program for India is concentrated heavily on improving energy and transportation infrastructure and agricultural modernization. India has based industrial development in the high-tech areas for some time and the Modi government can be expected to reinforce that tendency.
In foreign policy, a majority government can take actions to regularize relations with Pakistan and China which a coalition government could not. In addition, Modi is expected to continue the rapid expansion of the Indian armed forces begun during the previous government, especially the air and naval forces.
Modi is a Hindu nationalist, as is his BJP Party. Relations with the Muslim world may be problematical, but this remains to be seen. An indication may be seen in how he conducts relations with India’s large Muslim minority. At any rate, India under Modi can be expected to vigorously exert its hegemony over South Asia, while maintaining friendly relations with China and Russia.
India has long been a friend of Israel and an important market for Israeli goods, especially in defense equipment and high-tech exports. There is reason to believe this relationship will further strengthen as Modi takes office and begins to implement his programs. The defense and high-tech sectors should continue to flourish and be supplemented by Israeli agricultural technology, which India badly needs.
Indeed, along with a flourishing relationship with China, an expanding Indian market means interacting with two and a half billion people, about one-third of the population of the entire globe. Israel’s eight million can only benefit from looking east, where anti-semitism and BDS movements do not exist or are minimal. The West’s loss, due to its own profligacy and delusional policies and practices will be the East’s gain. Israel can serve well as the West Asian anchor to the South Asian and East Asian giants.
Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and teaches at the Center for National Security Studies and Geostrategy, University of Haifa.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 20, 2014
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013