India will need to match China with a capable and expanded foreign service working in coordination with political parties, business communities, intellectual elites and its diaspora but also display adherence to values that are genuinely attractive to the peoples of other nations to push an ‘Indian model’ of politics and development that can challenge the Chinese one.
In the second Modi term, New Delhi will have to do a better job than issuing statements on the BRI or ignoring it altogether and be willing to offer credible alternatives if it is retain any standing among its neighbours and further afield.
What does the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party say about China in national security terms?
What does the election manifesto of the Indian National Congress say about China in national security terms?
India’s democracy and its largely free and fair elections and the uncertainties they throw up, strongly challenge the ideas China’s communists have about order and stability, of ‘harmony’ in society and politics as represented by one-party rule.
For democracies to compete with the Chinese model, they will have to ensure both economic and social well-being and political accountability.
The current shake-up in the Sri Lankan system is unlikely to ruffle the Chinese too much. Across the board, no matter what their personal views on China, Sri Lanka’s politicians have learnt to do business with Beijing.
A smart, forward-looking Indian leadership should not pass up the opportunity to increase economic linkages with Pakistan, and provide the latter an alternative to China.
When complaints are raised against BRI, Beijing is quick to publicly offer to renegotiate terms. India, meanwhile, is known in South Asia more for its big brotherly attitude and the lack of synergy and capacity to implement its promises.