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AssessmentsJan 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Supporters of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, a Hindu nationalist organization, attend a religious congregation organized by the group in New Delhi on Dec. 9, 2018.
In Modi's India, Hindu Nationalism Ascends
With more than a billion people, India is a kaleidoscope of different languages, castes, regions and religions; indeed, the demographic diversity has long led the country's leaders to pursue secularist policies, lest support for any one group incite communal clashes. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, the government is pursuing greater national unity through social policies that give more pride of place to the nearly 80 percent of the country that is Hindu. Ahead of elections in 2019, Modi frequently played the populist card in an effort to curry favor with Hindu nationalists. Now, as Modi embarks on another five years in office, such populist policies -- like the revocation of Muslim-majority Kashmir's autonomy, the implementation of a divisive citizenship bill that allegedly discriminates against Muslims and the allocation of the disputed site of a demolished mosque for a Hindu temple -- are likely to
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Contributor PerspectivesAug 23, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Indian and Pakistani guards take part in a ceremony at their shared border marking the changing of the guard.
The Question That Never Gets Asked About Kashmir
In 1998, the CIA subjected India to strict surveillance to ensure it was complying with its commitment not to test nuclear weapons. The agency used satellites, communications intercepts and agents to watch the nuclear facility at Pokhran in Rajasthan state. India could not detonate warheads, which would inevitably lead Pakistan to follow suit, without the United States knowing in advance. Or so the United States thought. Washington went into shock on May 11, 1998, when Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced that his country had just detonated not one, but five nuclear warheads at Pokhran in a surprise to U.S. analysts. If the CIA is watching India and Pakistan now, it will have to do better than it did in 1998. In 2019, with passions high over India’s abrogation of Kashmir’s legal, if fictitious, autonomy, the outcome would not be waking up to discover one side or the other had tested
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On GeopoliticsAug 15, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech to the nation during a ceremony to celebrate the country's 73rd Independence Day, which marks the of the end of British colonial rule, at New Delhi's Red Fort on Aug. 15, 2019.
When Populist Nationalists Tempt Geopolitical Fate
Despite being explicit in their rhetoric, the actual actions of latter-day populist-nationalists still seem to shock and awe even the most jaded among us. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to simultaneously bifurcate and strip autonomy from the disputed territory of Kashmir was lying in plain site on page 12, point 14 of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) 2019 election manifesto. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been extremely forthright with his intent to force a no-deal Brexit "do or die, come what may" -- even if this means losing a no-confidence motion but forcing through a no-deal Brexit regardless by scheduling an early election for immediately after Brexit D-Day. And U.S. President Donald Trump may have seen the courts and Congress stymie many of his policies, but he has delivered on a long list of campaign promises against the odds. Each of Modi, Johnson and Trump are political figures
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Contributor PerspectivesApr 17, 2019 | 16:22 GMT
Craig Stephen Hicks is shown here in court on Feb. 11, 2015, the day after authorities say he fatally shot three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The Danger of Judging by Appearance and the Power of Reaching Out
They call themselves the OWGs, Old White Guys. The oldest is 78, the youngest 65. Their profile fits the pundits' picture of Trump voters: white, Christian and born before the Vietnam War. Their home is Raleigh, North Carolina, in the old Confederacy, which allegedly breeds bigots. But these white senior citizens are doing more than the police or social services to oppose the bigotry that breeds violence between races and religions. It started with three murders on their doorstep.
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AssessmentsMar 10, 2019 | 17:19 GMT
Supporters hold up flags in support of the Indian National Congress (INC) party during the launch of the party's campaign in Punjab ahead of India’s upcoming  elections.
In the Indian Elections, Voters Will Weigh Jobs Against Security
The defining event of the Indian political calendar is just weeks away. By May, over half a billion voters will choose 543 representatives to serve in India's lower house of parliament. The elections, which are the world's largest democratic exercise, will take place over several weeks, and the stakes are high: Narendra Modi, the most powerful Indian prime minister in a generation, is leading his incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against a raft of opposition parties under the Indian National Congress (INC) banner, all unifying in a bid to dislodge him from power. In 2014, the BJP's victory marked the first single-party majority in nearly three decades. And now, the party is looking to set another precedent in Indian politics by achieving successive non-Congress majority governments. But aside from having the INC as its main opponent, the environment that handed the BJP its victory five years ago bears little resemblance
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Partner PerspectivesDec 1, 2018 | 11:00 GMT
A goods train in India, circa 1914.
World War I: A Turning Point for the Indian Economy
The centenary celebration of the end of World War I has mostly focused on its political impact, especially the implosion of multinational empires that led to the creation of new ethnic nations in Europe, as well as the communist capture of power in Russia. In India, the return of Punjabi soldiers after the end of the war also galvanized political activity against colonial rule in that province, which became the spark for wider protests. Less attention has been lavished on the economic impact of the conflagration. World War I ended the first era of globalization. It also proved to be a turning point for the Indian economy.
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AssessmentsApr 27, 2018 | 04:34 GMT
In this photo, a map shows the positions of China and India on the globe.
India and China's Rapprochement Extends Only Skin Deep
"The Chinese dragon and Indian elephant must not fight each other but dance with each other." The words -- uttered last month by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi -- point to an attempt by the world's two most populous countries to reduce their high tensions in the Himalayas less than a year after they nearly came to blows in the Doklam standoff. Amid the prospects of a "reset" in ties, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay Chinese President Xi Jinping an informal, two-day visit starting April 27 in Wuhan. During the meeting, which marks the latest in a series of high-level exchanges between Indian and Chinese officials, the leaders aim to lay the groundwork for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit scheduled for June in Qingdao. From a broader perspective, however, the irreconcilable differences in the strategic objectives of the nuclear rivals suggest that their emerging bonhomie won't mask
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ReflectionsJan 30, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Jawaharlal Nehru (left) and Mohandas K. Gandhi talk at a committee meeting in Bombay.
Gandhi, India and the Road Not Taken
Nathuram Godse altered the course of Indian history. On Jan. 30, 1948, the militant Hindu nationalist killed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi while the 78-year old leader of the Indian independence movement was en route to his evening prayers in New Delhi's Birla House. The assassination would plunge a newly liberated India into mourning -- independence had taken place less than six months before -- and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi's foremost disciple, would use the incident to suppress the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu nationalist organization that Godse had once been affiliated with. Ahead of his execution in 1949, the unremorseful Godse rattled off a litany of grievances against Gandhi's ideology in a courtroom letter focused on Muslim appeasement, the carnage born of Partition, and the creation of Pakistan.
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AssessmentsNov 10, 2017 | 10:00 GMT
With its Act East policy, India is focused on strengthening its trade and infrastructural ties with Southeast Asia.
To Counter China, India Pushes East
India has long looked east across the Bay of Bengal to Southeast Asia. Throughout its history, Indian traders and missionaries plying its waters for Malaysia and Indonesia brought Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism to the region with them. Those ties have lingered into the present, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has touched upon their shared cultural and religious connections through soft power diplomacy as part of his government's Act East policy.
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Partner PerspectivesAug 17, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
More than a billion people celebrate Aug. 15 as India's Independence Day.
India at 70: The Absurdity of Hope
More than a billion people celebrate Aug. 15 as India's Independence Day, but the irrational circumstances of the subcontinent's partition continue to cast a shadow 70 years later. And many wonder if the specter of communalism will haunt the region forever.
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AssessmentsAug 13, 2017 | 13:52 GMT
As Pakistan celebrates the seventieth anniversary of its independence, the specter of the 1947 partition that split India and Pakistan still looms.
The Specter of Partition Looms on Pakistan's 70th Anniversary
Pakistan has been in a tug of war between elected and unelected institutions since its inception. Contentious relations between Muslims and Hindus formed the cracked foundation on which the country was established, and a powerful military that regularly wrested control from political leaders has kept it unstable. Now, as Pakistan celebrates the seventieth anniversary of its independence, the specter of the 1947 partition that split India and Pakistan still looms, embodied in the clashing priorities of contemporary figures shaped by decades old circumstances.
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ReflectionsMay 26, 2017 | 22:05 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, looking quite content with himself
The Unstoppable Force at the Center of Indian Politics
Despite the challenges he's faced in his first three years as prime minister, Narendra Modi's popularity looks no worse for the wear. A reported 61 percent of Indians approve of the government's performance, according to a recent poll widely cited in the country's press. To be sure, the figure represents a three-point drop from the previous year. Nevertheless, considering India's stubbornly low job creation rates -- and the furor that erupted when Modi launched a sweeping demonetization campaign -- a three percent loss isn't bad. So what's behind the prime minster's enduring appeal?
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On GeopoliticsMar 21, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
India's Uttar Pradesh election is critical for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
In India, a State Election Shapes the Future of a Nation
Sometimes an election resonates far beyond the place it directly concerns. Voters in one nation can create problems for foreigners, or voters in one region can shape the fate of an entire country. This is what the citizens of Uttar Pradesh have just done for India for the second time in three years. By delivering a resounding victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in elections held between Feb. 11 and March 8, the country's largest state has not only set the ruling party on the path toward another victory in general elections set for 2019. It has also upheld a multidecade pattern that will define the shape of the country for many years to come.
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ReflectionsJan 19, 2017 | 03:37 GMT
Can an Ambitious India Seize the Moment?
Can an Ambitious India Seize the Moment?
The world is in a state of flux, and according to Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar, that can be a good thing for a rising regional power like India, which in many ways is primed to seize the moment and propel itself toward a greater global leadership role. Many factors support a more influential global role for India: The country benefits from a relatively young population (a significant proportion of which speaks English) and has one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. Thanks to its history of multilateral engagement, it has made few enemies, leaving the door open for further global involvement. What’s more, India was spared the worst effects of the 2008 global financial crisis. Of course, the rhetoric of India’s ambitions must be measured against the reality of its constraints. India's fiscal limitations stymie investment into the infrastructure projects it needs to spur growth. It is
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AssessmentsDec 11, 2016 | 14:15 GMT
A Stratfor Holiday Gift Guide
A Stratfor Holiday Gift Guide
There's a scene in No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy's stunning, elegiac murder ballad from 2005, that's as funny as it is tragic. In the far reaches of West Texas, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell takes the measure of a drug deal gone horribly wrong. Quickly surveying the bodies and the bloodshed, he quips, "If it ain't a mess, it'll do till the mess gets here." In light of the events of 2016 – a year marked by coups and celebrity deaths and unexpected elections results around the world – the scene now seems eerily prophetic. Here at Stratfor, we have spent the past 12 months combing through the mess to tell you what it means and what will happen next. But that's not all we've been doing. Along the way, we have been tirelessly consuming books, films and even video games – sometimes even in our down time. We can't
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AssessmentsNov 22, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
Why Indian Trade Underwhelms
Why Indian Trade Underwhelms
The value of India's exports, including goods and services, grew by 9.5 percent in October compared with exports during the same month a year ago. The growth was driven by the increased pace of exports of gems and industrial goods, but the statistic does not capture the bigger picture. Excluding services, the export of goods, which constitutes 62 percent of overall exports, has actually fallen in 18 of the past 21 months. And that is a worrisome trend for India's economy, especially on top of the plummeting value of merchandise exports, which fell 6 percent to $318 billion in 2014 and another 17 percent to $264 billion last year. Reduced global demand for commodities explains part of the drop, but India cannot blame all of its troubles on outside factors. The rupee has strengthened over the past two years, partly because of the falling values of other currencies, which could
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AssessmentsOct 23, 2016 | 13:00 GMT
The BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, find they have less and less in common.
The BRICS Without Mortar
In 2001, Goldman Sachs analyst Jim O'Neill was looking for a quick and catchy way to refer to countries poised to drive growth in the coming decade. The solution he settled on was BRICs, for Brazil, Russia, India and China. From there, a group was born. The countries began meeting annually in 2009 and adopted a capital S when South Africa joined the following year. Though they had little in common beyond their promising economic futures and O'Neill's slick moniker, the BRICS made the most of their serendipitous union. Over the years, their annual gatherings laid the groundwork for new international institutions, such as the New Development Bank. But the BRICS' eighth annual summit, held Oct. 15-16 in Goa, India, was lackluster, and the group's representatives struggled to agree on the content of their declaration. Even the statement's message about combating terrorism proved contentious as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the
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