STATEMENT: India’s election results show shift in Indian Politics, impacting Indian national security and foreign policy

May 24, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05/24/2019

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Caiti Goodman, 202.478.3437 (O), 202.361.0254 (C), [email protected]

Statement: India’s election results show shift in Indian Politics, impacting India's national security and foreign policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had a landslide victory in the elections in India, this week, in which he pushed a message of nationalist pride and regional security against terrorism. Modi first became Prime Minister in 2014 with a desire to improve the economy, create jobs and change the country.

Stimson Fellow and Director of the South Asia program, Sameer Lalwani is a leading expert on nuclear deterrence, interstate rivalry, crisis behavior, and counter/insurgency in South Asia and US-India relations. He released the following statement:

Narendra Modi led the BJP to a landslide victory, despite a stagnating economy and record unemployment, by mobilizing Indian voters around his strong leadership on national security. This is shift in Indian politics that, going forward, could empower or constrain Modi’s national security and foreign policy ventures. With such a resounding mandate, American leaders might expect the re-elected Prime Minister to enhance US-India defense ties and more actively balance America’s adversaries like Russia, Iran, and China. However, the Prime Minister’s ambition to build India into a great power may pressure him to avoid frictions abroad, prioritize a domestic economic revitalization, double down on protection of India’s markets, and even court Chinese investment.

Stimson Fellow and Deputy Director of the South Asia program, Elizabeth Thelkeld, is a leading expert in South Asia geopolitics, ethno-nationalist conflict, territorial disputes, and India-Pakistan relations. She released the following statement:

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said before the election that a BJP victory would represent the best chance for renewed India-Pakistan dialogue. His congratulatory tweet and the recent Foreign Ministers meeting suggest the two sides might soon return to the negotiating table. BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav noted Khan and Modi could meet as soon as the June Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. How long this opening will last – and whether another attack could close it prematurely – will be questions to watch going forward.

 

SAMEER, FELLOW & DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH ASIA PROGRAM, THE STIMSON CENTER

Sameer Lalwani is a Senior Fellow and Director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center where he researches nuclear deterrence, interstate rivalry, crisis behavior, and counter/insurgency. He is also an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the RAND Corporation.

Read Sameer Lalwani’s full bio.

ELIZABETH THRELKELD, FELLOW & DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH ASIA PROGRAM, THE STIMSON CENTER

Elizabeth Threlkeld is a Fellow and Deputy Director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center. Before joining Stimson, she served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State in Islamabad and Peshawar, Pakistan, and Monterrey, Mexico.

Read Elizabeth Thelkeld’s full bio.