Author: Anubhav Gupta and Puneet Talwar
Affiliation: Asia Society Policy Institute
Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date: May 4, 2020/USA
Word/Page Count: 1733 words
Keywords: India, COVID-19, Consolidation.
Brief: The authors analyze India’s social, economic and political condition as the country fights the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous challenges and opportunities to the Modi led BJP government. If Modi seizes this opportunity to address India’s underlying problems as he battles COVID-19 and the economic wreckage it has caused, he has a chance to emerge from this crisis in a stronger position both at home and abroad. India could either emerge strong from this crisis or can nose dive into a plethora of economic and social issues. Which of these paths India takes will depend on whether Modi’s government can make progress in three critical areas while it simultaneously manages the coronavirus: economic reform, regional stability, and internal social cohesion. India would earn international goodwill if the government loosened its limits on the trade of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and equipment. After U.S. President Donald Trump made a personal appeal to Modi in early April, India agreed to partially relax its export ban on the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. With his strong majority in Parliament, Modi could utilize the current emergency to institute structural reforms to improve infrastructure, streamline the tax code, make the labor market more flexible, and cut the infamous red tape that impedes business in the country, as well as open India to more imports and foreign investment. However, the growing communal hatred and social divisions have to be monitored and stopped. A strong call for communal harmony will only compliment India’s efforts towards consolidation.
By: Usman Khan Pathan, CIGA Research Associate