Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

3 Years of the Modi Government

Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2017
Pages: 94
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. i-iv)
    Salman Haidar and Ruhee Neog

    Foreign policy is frequently envisaged as an extension of a country's domestic interests and economic concerns, and it becomes an important bellwether in assessing overall policy direction, be it social, economic or security. As India increasingly flexes its diplomatic muscle, perhaps as a natural extension of its growing economic confidence, it becomes important to gauge how policy has evolved from 2014 to 2017, and what returns on domestic and diplomatic investment can be witnessed in this period. This collection of writings by eminent and emerging Indian scholars and practitioners addresses these central concerns by critically evaluating the Prime Minister (PM)...

  2. (pp. 1-4)
    Prerana Priyadarshi

    When Narendra Modi took over as India's prime minister in May 2014, he had the mammoth task of reviving the Indian economy which had taken a beating under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II regime. After three years of repairs and reforms, the current account deficit has been reduced to a historic low of 0.7 per cent; forex reserves are at an all time high of US$ 360 billion; the consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation came down to 2.18 per cent in May 2017; and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at 7.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017....

  3. (pp. 5-7)
    Bibhu Prasad Routray

    On 3 June 2017, India's Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, summed up his government's performance in the past three years with regard to the challenge of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), and said "...there has been a decline of 25% in LWE related incidents of violence and casualties to Security Forces dropped by as much as 42% during the period May 2014-April 2017 as compared to May 2011-April 2014." He also claimed that Naxal-affected states including Chhattisgarh have witnessed major developments that have completely destroyed (kamar tod di hai) the support system for Naxal activities.

    While the data is indisputable, its presentation...

  4. (pp. 8-13)
    Sanjoy Hazarika and Niyati Singh

    Google search of the keywords "Prime Minister Narendra Modi" and the "Northeast" throw up various headlines that include the following:

    "Narendra Modi wants to make Northeast ‘Gateway to Southeast Asia’"

    "Northeast should be the 'New Engine' for India's growth”

    "Northeast will play important role in India's Act east policy: PM Modi."

    Under Modi, thus, there appears to be a robust emphasis on the Northeast as a place for change and where changes are taking place. However, what are these specific changes that are taking place as a result of efforts by the central government? This piece proposes to look at...

  5. (pp. 14-16)
    Garima Maheshwari

    The last three years under the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have seen several initiatives being taken in the field of environmental policymaking. To observers, it may often come as a surprise that there is a sharp polarisation between extremely positive initiatives on the one hand (like India’s assertive position on climate change, ambitious climate action targets, bills institutionalising water for life, waste management and air pollution regulations), and clearly negative anti-people actions on the other hand (especially the regulation of natural ecosystems like coasts, forests and wetlands and erosion of people’s rights). In reality, however, there...

  6. (pp. 17-19)
    Vijay Sakhuja

    During the last three years since the incumbent government led by Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi came to power, ‘matters maritime’ have gained ascendency, clearly suggesting that India’s political and ruling elite have shed the proverbial ‘maritime blindness’. New Delhi has undertaken a multitude of proactive initiatives at the national and international levels that straddle political, economic, security, technological and social domains. These initiatives have been driven by several competing political priorities, rising economic interests and India’s changing security dynamics vis-à-vis the international order. Among these, at least three issues merit attention:

    Maritime security

    International relations

    Economic development


  7. (pp. 20-22)
    Sarral Sharma

    Since 2014, New Delhi’s policy vis-à-vis Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has broadly been a combination of a tough approach towards separatist elements; reliance on mainstream politics; and keeping Kashmir out of the India-Pakistan bilateral equation. Early on in its tenure, New Delhi cancelled a foreign secretary-level dialogue with Islamabad when the latter invited Hurriyat leaders for a consultation. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had its best electoral performance in J&K after winning 25 seats in the Jammu region. Yet, its alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) has not been able to cash in on the opportunity to resolve certain continuing...

  8. (pp. 23-25)
    Abhijit Iyer-Mitra

    The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India has been seen to be very assertive on national security. On closer analysis, however, the BJP's track record over the last three years reveals continuity more than change.

    For example, in the purchase of the Rafale fighter planes, the initial requirement for 126 aircraft was reduced to a mere 36, casting doubts on the combat efficacy of the type due to reduced numbers. No action seems forthcoming on the alarmingly depleting combat numbers of the fighter fleet. Other deals including the Apache and Chinook transport helicopters, and two different howitzer barrel types...

  9. (pp. 26-28)
    Manpreet Sethi

    Democracies often undergo swings in policies with a change of government. India’s nuclear policy, however, in both its dimensions - weapons and power generation - has enjoyed broad support across political parties. The pace of development of these programmes may have varied depending on the personal inclination of the leadership, but the general direction of the policies has mostly remained the same irrespective of the party in power. India’s ability to conduct nuclear tests in 1998 was enabled by the continued support given to the programme by leaders of all hues while occupying the prime minister’s chair between 1948-98.


  10. (pp. 29-31)
    Niharika Tagotra

    In July 2014, months after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government returned to power, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi visited the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai and declared that nuclear power would be an essential part of India’s energy security. The initiatives taken by the current government are reflective of this intent. While most of these initiatives are a continuation of the previous government’s policy push in the nuclear energy sector, many other initiatives undertaken by the current regime go a step further. It is however important to note that the present government remains conspicuously silent on issues...

  11. (pp. 32-34)
    Mihir Swarup Sharma

    In the three years since Narendra Modi was swept to power with an unprecedented mandate, the conduct of India's foreign policy has been given a new energy. Mr Modi has been an indefatigable traveller, and his administration has sought to build or repair relationships with many of India's neighbours and partners.

    It is difficult to claim that any grand strategy underlies this energy, which seems rather to respond to the demands of the moment than anything else; but it could well be argued that Mr Modi sees foreign policy essentially as an extension of his immediate domestic priorities. These can...

  12. (pp. 35-37)
    Chintamani Mahapatra

    Narendra Modi's landslide victory in the 2014 general election raised many eyebrows in relevant circles about the future of India’s relations with the US. The United Progressive Alliance-II (UPA-II) government had already witnessed a bottom low in its relationship with the US in the wake of a dysfunctional economic policy, rampant corruption allegations, and a diplomatic row sparked by the arrest of an Indian diplomat by the New York police.

    Many were watching the Modi wave during the election campaign, and some foreign leaders, including those from Europe, had already begun to engage with Modi as the prospective prime minister....

  13. (pp. 38-40)
    Rana Banerji

    Despite flash-in-the-pan initiatives like the May 2014 invitation to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) heads of government at its inauguration and the ‘out of the box’ Lahore visit in December 2015, the incumbent Indian government’s relations with Pakistan remain mired in a bitter stalemate. Both sides seem caught in a test of wills, promoting opposing visions of how relations can be normalised, and pursuing mutually exclusive, self-sufficient narratives on why talks between the two end in mutual recrimination instead of mutual understanding. For Pakistan, it is the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, whereas India accords higher priority to...

  14. (pp. 41-43)
    VP Haran

    Bhutan, like other neighbours, watched with interest and some anxiety as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) swept the polls in May 2014. Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi was an enigma to them. They were unsure of what the Modi government's foreign policy would be. Bhutan was no exception. The invitation to South Asian leaders for the swearing in ceremony was a reassuring message from the new government that it attached the highest priority to strengthening relations with neighbours. Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay's visit to Delhi and his meeting with PM Modi reassured him about the continuity of India’s policy...

  15. (pp. 44-46)
    Amit Ranjan

    Unless there is a change in the form of government or there occurs a marked shift in the global or regional political order, the foreign policy of any ‘normal’ country maintains continuity with its past. However, certain adjustments are made to accommodate visions of the new political leadership and to address day-to-day matters in foreign policy. As nothing has happened in the last three years that can influence the existing global or regional order, India’s policy towards Bangladesh is in continuation with what it was under the Dr Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance-II (UPA-II) government (2004-2014).

    After Indian Prime Minister...

  16. (pp. 47-49)
    Pramod Jaiswal

    Narendra Modi’s electoral victory in May 2014 generated positive vibes throughout the region. His invitation to the heads of governments of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member-states to his swearing-in ceremony and making Bhutan and Nepal his first official foreign visits clearly highlighted his prioritisation of India’s neighbourhood. In this context, this article assesses India’s relations with Nepal during the past three years.

    As prime minister, Modi’s first public statement on foreign affairs was about Nepal, on Twitter, where he said that he was committed to strengthening relations. Unlike his predecessor, Dr Manmohan Singh, who failed to...

  17. (pp. 50-53)
    Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy

    Bilateral relations between India and Afghanistan have been characterised by ‘friendly engagement’ and underscored by positive public perception in both countries; this has continued after the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government took office in May 2014. Even then, emerging realities in and related to Afghanistan necessitate innovative action from both countries in at least three key sectors:


    Economy and developmental partnership


    Overall, over the past three years, political relations between India and Afghanistan have witnessed more flow than the perceived ebb. Both countries held national elections in 2014. The new dispensation in India treaded cautiously during...

  18. (pp. 54-56)
    Husanjot Chahal

    In May 2014, the newly elected Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi kickstarted his tenure by inviting the heads of all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries for his swearing-in ceremony, suggesting that contact with neighbours should be made a matter of routine rather than treated as exception. This has held true most aptly for Sri Lanka, with seven bilateral state visits on record between the two sides in three years.

    Inheriting an unfortunate legacy of three difficult decades of mistrust between India and Sri Lanka, PM Modi’s commitment to restructure ties with its island neighbour deserves credit....

  19. (pp. 57-59)
    N Manoharan

    Though small, the Maldives is an important Indian neighbour. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Maldives “a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood” and said that India-Maldives “ties are built on a very strong foundation,” the contours of which “are defined by shared strategic, security, economic and developmental goals.” However, the bilateral ties are not without irritants, which can be seen in two broad areas: political and strategic.

    Politically, India has consciously avoided interfering in the Maldives' internal affairs despite being invited to do so by the actors in the atoll state. New Delhi’s major concern has been...

  20. (pp. 60-63)
    TCA Rangachari

    Has the relationship lived up to these exalted sentiments?

    The first question to ask is whether it is possible to make a worthwhile assessment of India-China relations by looking at this one short phase of a relationship stretching back a millennia and more? Or, should the relationship be viewed as a continuum where the past, present and future are all component parts?

    The past will remain ever present in our bilateral dealings given that India and China have inherited a rich historical and cultural legacy. The present is relevant because that is what has to be dealt with; also because...

  21. (pp. 64-66)
    Rajiv Bhatia

    Assessing the state of India's relations with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the Modi government completed three years in office makes sense. But the task is not easy, for the governments are in a mode of self-congratulation. Whereas celebrations of the silver anniversary of the India-ASEAN dialogue partnership (which began in 1992 and culminated in the strategic partnership in 2012) are underway, ASEAN celebrates its own golden anniversary in 2017. Nevertheless, offering a scholarly and objective evaluation is possible, keeping in view the recent history and changing power dynamics in the region.

    In the last two years...

  22. (pp. 67-70)
    Angshuman Choudhury

    Bilateral relations between India and Myanmar have historically been uneven and contingent on specific leadership approaches on both sides. Under India’s incumbent Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, this complex relationship has seen renewed commitment within the broader agenda of ‘Act East’ – a timely upgradation of India’s post-Cold War tilt towards Southeast Asia and beyond.

    Since 2014, New Delhi has made an attempt to proactively reach out to Naypyidaw. The core motivation for this revamped push is to consolidate Myanmar as a strategic bridge between India and Southeast Asia, and as a long-term partner in the Mekong sub-region and Bay...

  23. (pp. 71-73)
    Shamshad A Khan

    When the transition of leadership was underway in India in 2014, the strategic community in Japan speculated whether the new government in New Delhi would accord the same priority to the New Delhi-Tokyo bilateral relationship as the United Progressive Alliance-II (UPA-II) government had done.

    The wariness was a result of a history of 'engagement' and ‘estrangement’ in India-Japan relations driven mainly by the leadership’s personality. The previous Indian Prime Minister (PM), Dr Manmohan Singh, had paid special attention to forging closer India-Japan relations and Tokyo was keen on continuing this momentum in its bilateral relationship with New Delhi. Consequently, Japan...

  24. (pp. 74-76)
    Sandip Kumar Mishra

    From the very beginning of its term in 2014, India's incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government showed decisive intent towards bringing more dynamism in India’s foreign policy. Good examples of this were its policies towards Southeast Asia and East Asia. India renamed the erstwhile Look East Policy (LEP) as Act East Policy (AEP), and also announced that more substance would be added into India’s relations with these countries. Apart from more economic and political exchanges, the new policy sought to invoke India's strategic and deep-rooted cultural connections with these countries. It was expected that the Korean peninsula, which comprises North...

  25. (pp. 77-80)
    PS Raghavan

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in New Delhi inherited some wrinkles in the traditionally smooth India-Russia strategic partnership.

    Russia saw the enhanced nuclear and defence cooperation foreshadowed by the India-US nuclear deal as a re-orientation of India’s foreign policy. A slackening of India-Russia cooperation in nuclear energy and defence strengthened this assessment, though it was probably attributable more to an atrophy of government functioning. India’s support for a harsh West-sponsored resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council in July 2012 was seen as succumbing to US pressure. Rightly or wrongly, the Russians saw the...

  26. (pp. 81-83)
    Ranjit Gupta

    Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has invested more personal energy and enthusiasm in the conduct and stewardship of India’s external relations than any prime minister since the first decade of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s premiership, resulting in India enjoying a significantly higher profile in international relations than at any time since then. Modi has also established an enviable international reputation of being able to develop great personal rapport with foreign leaders even in first meetings. This characteristic has the potential to pay particularly high dividends vis-á-vis leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries because their decisions are unchallengeable policy....

  27. (pp. 84-86)
    KP Fabian

    Prospects of relations between India and the European Union (EU) and the rest of the continent should be assessed keeping in mind the shifting geopolitical equations; the state of EU; the challenges it is facing; and the new world order likely to emerge and replace the departing world order. Here, it will be useful to also look at what has been attempted and achieved since 2014.

    In 2014, a new government with a comfortable parliamentary majority led by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi took charge in India. In March 2016, PM Modi visited Brussels and attended the 13th India-EU Summit....