How India’s economy has fared under Modi
9 March 2019
Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU
When Narendra Modi became prime minister in May 2014, his Bharatiya Janata Party formed India’s first majority government in almost 30 years. Modi’s tenure ends in May 2019. By then, elections involving more than 900 million people will have chosen 543 members of the lower house of the Indian Parliament and, therefore, a new government. This will be the biggest electoral exercise in the world.
A vendor sleeps as his son waits for customers at their roadside vegetable shop in New Delhi, India, 12 February 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi).
Several factors will influence the people’s choice of their representatives and Modi’s prospects for re-election. One of these will be the perception of Modi’s performance as prime minister. Of particular importance will be the changes that have occurred in the Indian economy since Modi took power.
During Modi’s first term as prime minister, economic growth and taxation revenue have risen while inflation and the fiscal deficit have fallen. Macroeconomic stability and growth prospects have improved. Real GDP growth is estimated at 7.2 per cent over 2017–18 and 7.23 per cent over 2018–19. In comparison, over 2013–14, the last fiscal year of the previous government, real GDP growth was 6.39 per cent.
Real GDP per capita growth estimates suggest an acceleration from 5.3 per cent over 2017–18 to 5.94 per cent over 2018–19, compared to 5.03 per cent over 2013–14. Figures for 2017-18 and 2018-19 may be revised upward as more data become available. CPI inflation is estimated to have dropped from 9.6 per cent over 2013–14 to 4.7 per cent over 2017–18.
[India] [Modi] [Election] [Economy]
Israel is Playing a Big Role in India’s Escalating Conflict with Pakistan
by Robert Fisk
March 5, 2019
When I heard the first news report, I assumed it was an Israeli air raid on Gaza. Or Syria. Airstrikes on a “terrorist camp” were the first words. A “command and control centre” destroyed, many “terrorists” killed. The military was retaliating for a “terrorist attack” on its troops, we were told.
An Islamist “jihadi” base had been eliminated. Then I heard the name Balakot and realised that it was neither in Gaza, nor in Syria – not even in Lebanon – but in Pakistan. Strange thing, that. How could anyone mix up Israel and India?
Well, don’t let the idea fade away. Two thousand five hundred miles separate the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv from the Indian ministry of defence in New Delhi, but there’s a reason why the usual cliche-stricken agency dispatches sound so similar.
For months, Israel has been assiduously lining itself up alongside India’s nationalist BJP government in an unspoken – and politically dangerous – “anti-Islamist” coalition, an unofficial, unacknowledged alliance, while India itself has now become the largest weapons market for the Israeli arms trade.
[Israel] [India] [Counterinsurgency] [Arms sales]
Washington wants to know if Pakistan used U.S.-built jets to down Indian warplane
Drazen Jorgic, Fayaz Bukhari
The United States said on Sunday it was trying to find out if Pakistan used U.S.-built F-16 jets to down an Indian warplane, potentially in violation of U.S. agreements, as the stand-off between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors appeared to be easing.
Pakistan and India both carried out aerial bombing missions this week, including a clash on Wednesday that saw an Indian pilot shot down over the disputed region of Kashmir in an incident that alarmed global powers and sparked fears of a war.
A Pakistan military spokesman on Wednesday denied Indian claims that Pakistan used F-16 jets.
Pakistan returned the captured Indian pilot on Friday in a high-profile handover Islamabad touted as a “peace gesture”, which appeared to significantly dial down tensions, but both sides remain on high alert.
At the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between the two countries in the disputed Kashmir region, there was relative calm in the past 24 hours, both armies said on Sunday. But Indian security forces said they were carrying out major anti-militancy operations on their side on Kashmir and had shot dead two militants.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said on Sunday it was looking into reports that Pakistan used F-16 jets to shoot down the Indian pilot, a potential violation of Washington’s military sale agreements that limit how Pakistan can use the planes.
“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” a U.S. Embassy spokesperson said. “We take all allegations of misuse of defense articles very seriously.”
[Arms sales] [US dominance] [Bizarre]
Sri Lanka Is Poised for a Wild and Rocky Year Ahead
By Taylor Dibbert
Sri Lanka looks to have averted a political disaster. On Oct. 26, President Maithripala Sirisena illegally appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister and fired Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had served as prime minister since 2015. The nation’s awkward and ineffective coalition government – led by Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Wickremesinghe’s United National Party – fell apart.
Wickremesinghe was reinstated as prime minister on Dec. 16 as the coup attempt failed. The relationship between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe remains in terrible shape, however; the causes underlying the crisis (mostly pertaining to domestic politics) remain unresolved. Consequently, Sri Lanka is likely in for a bumpy ride in 2019.
The coalition government that formed in 2015 became increasingly unpopular as the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe relationship fell apart, although an unconstitutional power grab was impossible to predict. During the crisis, Rajapaksa and other members of the purported Cabinet took over government ministries and supporters of the attempted coup took control of state media.
Sirisena moved to dissolve Parliament in November and wanted to hold a parliamentary election in January. Meanwhile, Rajapaksa lost two no confidence motions in Parliament and Wickremesinghe won a confidence vote. Throughout the crisis, Wickremesinghe maintained that he was the legitimate prime minister.