Modi 2.0 wants India to become a US$ 5 trillion economy, and a master of Indian Ocean, Pax Indica. But, to become a superpower, India needs to shed its binary hyphenating with Pakistan bogey. India is getting isolated in the comity of nations because of its hostility towards Pakistan.
India is faced with a multitude of problems at home and abroad. India’s hegemony forced Nepal to veer towards China. Modi dictated to Nepal that it should craft Nepal’s Constitution to protect the interests of Hindus in that country. In Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, as well as Maldives, India’s fortunes depend on the ebb and flow of governments in power. For now, Myanmar is balancing India and China. In Afghanistan, if the ongoing US negotiations with Taliban succeed and the group becomes a partner in the government in Kabul, New Delhi’s strategic interests and influence in that country would dwindle. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on India if it continues to buy Iranian oil and goes ahead with the already signed deal to acquire the S-400 missile system from Russia. Washington’s hostility may lead to disintegration of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the group linking the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China’s expansionism. Already, Washington has removed India from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a preferential trade programme offering lower tariffs to exports from developing countries.
The myth of India’s superpower status explodes spectacularly in the multilateral arena as the country continues to remain excluded from major institutions of global governance. Despite being Asia’s third largest economy, India is still not a member of the influential Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Although it is a major donor of development aid across South Asia and Africa, a membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development still eludes India. It is also not a member of G7, a central institution of the world’s leading democracies. India is the world’s largest democracy, with the third-largest military in the world. It is a top troop-contributor to UN peacekeeping. Still, it is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council. At the UN General Assembly, too, India’s heft has suffered due to New Delhi’s steadily dwindling support of the Palestinian cause amidst soaring ties with Israel. But it appears that Modi 2.0 looks upon his election victory as due to Hindutva. But, not all the 335 million (38% of the 67% turnout) who voted for Narendra Modi did so as Hindus. Yet, Indian Parliament resonates with Hindu slogans. To become a super-power, it should stick to its secular constitution.