Chinese views of Narendra Modi’s election victory are interesting for a number of reasons. One, there are implications for China’s own political system about a democracy’s ability to provide a clear majority to a ‘decisive’ leader. Two, there are hopes for a more pragmatic relationship and greater speed on the economic side of the relationship. And three, there is evidence of an increasingly sophisticated understanding of India’s internal politics. Prime Minister Modi, meanwhile, has an advantage in having visited China before in his capacity as Chief Minister of Gujarat but the Chinese are still unsure if this necessarily means either greater friendliness or an ability to better understand China and its national interests.
Presentation: “Indian Public Opinion and Sino-Indian Relations: Causes and Consequences,” India-China Interface, Department of Foreign Languages – Chinese, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 10 January 2011.
Summary: Former Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi’s statement reiterating the Chinese claim over Arunachal on the eve of his President, Hu Jintao’s visit to India in November 2006 might have been the unintentional starting point for a new phase in Sino-Indian relations. Unintentional, because the play that the Chinese envoy’s ordinary, entirely unsurprising statement received in the Indian media, marked the beginning of a heightened popular Indian awareness and engagement with China, that now has perhaps begun to contribute or inform to some extent to New Delhi’s engagement at the higher political level with Beijing. The impact of popular opinion on Sino-Indian relations is nothing new however. In the run-up to the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 and subsequently, popular feelings played an important role constraining the government’s freedom of action and in encouraging political players to make rash statements and promises. There are of course several differences with the present and it is these differences – their reasons and their implications – that will be examined in greater detail.
- Public Opinion pre-1962
- Government Clampdown post-1962
- China’s Rise
- India’s Rise
- Rise of Indian Television Media and the Globetrotting Indian
Original Article: “Provincial Interests and Foreign Policy: Indian States’ Responses to the Malaysian and Kenyan Ethnic Crises,” in Amitabh Mattoo and Happymon Jacob (eds.), Shaping India’s Foreign Policy: People, Politics & Places (New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2010), pp. 141-171. (co-authored with Vibhanshu Shekhar).
Extract: It is now widely accepted that coalition politics in India is here to stay. While national parties such as the Congress (I) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will likely continue to be at the centre of any coalition for a while yet and there are parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that are beginning to advertise national ambitions by reaching out beyond their traditional provincial bastions, regional parties – parties that are primarily located and have their power bases in particular Indian provinces – will remain agenda-drivers in national governments at the centre. In addition, economic globalization and the processes it has set in motion have led to growing linkages between provincial and global entities, have provided actors at the subnational level further opportunities to involve themselves in global affairs. It is perhaps, natural therefore, to argue that regional parties will also increasingly, seek a say in the nation’s foreign policy.