The Consequences of India’s Election Surprise
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The Consequences of India’s Election Surprise


APLN member Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan wrote on India’s 2024 election and analysed its implications for Indian domestic and foreign policy.

If caution is likely to limit dramatic domestic policy initiatives, external conditions are similarly likely to limit any significant changes in India’s foreign policy. Foreign policy is not particularly salient in Indian elections and the latest polls bear this out. There was a lot of effort to gain electoral dividends by projecting Modi as a global leader and India’s global leadership through events such as the G-20. Whatever the Indian electorate thought of these efforts, it appears not to have had much positive impact for the NDA, especially in places like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

On the other hand, India’s international circumstances do not suggest major policy changes irrespective of who is in power in Delhi. India will have to continue balancing against China, which appears to be willing to give India no quarter. This also means India will have to continue strengthening its relations with the West and the United States, through partnerships like the Quad. There is also little domestic controversy over these broad themes unlike, for example, the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government, which was almost brought down because of the opposition of India’s communist parties to the India-U.S. nuclear deal.

It is also likely that the Modi government will be more cautious in its foreign policy behavior. Considering the demands of domestic electoral politics in the coming years, the incoming Modi government might not want a very heavy external agenda, especially one that seems to provide few returns at the polls.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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