Political Risk Advisory Briefing: India April 2021

This latest Political Risk Advisory Briefing from KCS Group Europe focuses on India.

India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has finally come of age. Always considered a serious regional player, it is now stretching its muscles on the international stage. This presents, however, new challenges and friction with neighbours and is already becoming a reality as each look to impose their might on spheres of influence. India has risen at a pivotal moment, with growing stress fractures beginning to appear between each major power with interests in the region – Russia, the US and China. India now joins that club. Its decisions and direction will be pivotal in reshaping the power balance of Asia.

To this end Modi’s strong-man campaign speeches garnered a large following among the Hindu Indian public by promising a clear direction in the lead up to the 2014 elections. This was considered an extremely popular manifesto pledge, given that it represented a stark break from the coalition governments of old. Each before him had suffered from in-fighting that produced long periods of policy paralysis since independence in 1947.

Voted into power with an absolute majority in that election, Modi’s victory represents the first absolute majority in thirty years. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was able to build on that majority in the 2019 elections as a direct result of that manifesto and subsequent reforms. They have arguably changed the Indian nation state forever by setting it on a new trajectory to international superpower.

Examples of such changes include a much stronger policy on terrorist groups operating out of (and with support of) Pakistan[1], ending the Islamic Triple Talaq (instant divorce) in India, thereby protecting women’s rights and the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which ended the semi-autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir. They had reinterpreted the Indian constitution and effectively blocked minority groups in Indian society from access to legal redress in terms of citizenship, property ownership and fundamental rights. In doing so, the BJP has forged a stronger, more cohesive national unit at the expense of a few.

Based on selected Grey Area Dynamics, India has a risk rating of 4.5

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