Why is Narendra Modi being hosted by President Biden

Why is Narendra Modi being hosted by President Biden?

India’s Narendra Modi, the country’s prime minister, will speak before a joint session of Congress on Thursday before joining President Biden for a state dinner at the White House. India is now the world’s most populous nation, and Modi’s visit to Washington comes as the United States makes more diplomatic and economic measures to isolate China. Modi was elected as Prime Minister in 2014, gave his first speech to Congress in 2016, and was re-elected in 2019. Polls show that he is the most well-liked leader in the world.

But his administration has suppressed the press, persecuted opposition figures, supported abuses of Muslims’ human rights, and stripped Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in the nation, of its autonomy. (Previously, Modi was Gujarat’s chief minister and presided over a 2002 pogrom against Muslims; as a result, he was prohibited from entering the United States for a number of years.)

I recently spoke with Fareed Zakaria—a CNN host, a Washington Post columnist, and the author of four books—to discuss Modi’s rule and the complicated relationship between the United States and India. Born in Bombay (now Mumbai), Zakaria recently travelled to India and said, “I came away from the trip bullish about India.” The title of his most recent book is “Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World.” We talked about Modi’s disputed economic record, whether the United States should be more critical of Modi’s human rights record, and how Zakaria has covered Modi and India throughout the years during our chat, which has been edited for length and clarity.

How do you think India has changed during Modi’s nearly ten years in power?

It has changed India. Since Indira Gandhi and possibly Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister, he is most likely the most significant Indian prime minister. What Modi actually stands for is a type of stripping of the skin of a dominant ideology that constituted a conceptual cornerstone of contemporary India. Socialism and secularism comprised that ideology.
In addition to socialism and a certain degree of estrangement from the West as part of a post-colonial mindset, secularism and socialism played a significant role in Nehru’s idea of nationalism. Modi has actively dismantled the notion of secularism while embracing the destruction of socialism. Thus, when everything is considered, India today feels extremely different from the India that Nehru described in the 1950s.

The early 1990s, more than three decades ago, are typically cited as the time when the socialist pillar vanished; it was started by the Congress party, which was ostensibly more liberal and secularist, and later continued by Modi’s more right-wing nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.). Do you believe Modi is making a difference in the economy?

You are 100% correct that the Congress party started to liberalise the economy. The B.J.P. represented those who worked in the private sector of the economy, including business owners, shopkeepers, small-business owners, upper-middle class, and upper-middle caste followers. Being a part of that was therefore not unfamiliar to them. However, you’re right that the disintegration of nationalism is much more pronounced, ideological, and purposeful.

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