Last year at the IISS Shangri-La dialogue, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined India’s conceptualization of the Indo-Pacific as a geographic continuum stretching from the east coast of Africa to the shores of America. India didn’t adopt Indo-Pacific at the behest of the US; its scholarly origins date back to the works of Kalidas Nag who employed the concept in his writings (India and the Pacific world) in the 1940s. Subsequently, scholars such as C. Raja Mohan and Capt.
India in Transition
When Prime Minster Narendra Modi came back to power, he had many things going for him: a renewed mandate, an absolute majority in parliament, a prostrate opposition, and a level of personal popularity with the electorate that dwarfed any other leader.
But, at the same time, his new government was confronting three major challenges. The first was a tepid economy whose weaknesses were threatening all other goals. The second was a more uncertain international environment, stemming from an unpredictable and polarized United States and a resurgent China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on March 27, 2019 began with the declaration that India had “established itself as a global space power.” This statement was premised on the notion that an anti-satellite (ASAT) test was “necessary” to demonstrate India’s status as a space-faring nation. However, India has been internationally recognized for its space-faring prowess for decades, given its unique ability to manufacture innovative technology at economical rates, evidenced by the increasing use of Indian launch services by foreign nations.
In August 2019, the Indian parliament threatened business leaders with up to three years in prison if they failed to comply with the requirements of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) provisions that were introduced in 2013. In addition to prison terms, any company that does not allocate its 2 percent of annual profits to charity will have the money taken by the state and doled out to one of a list of government funds. What does the shift from voluntary to mandatory CSR over the past decade reveal about the relationship between the state, the market, and the social sector in India?
In recent decades, India has been slowly climbing up the international hierarchy, increasing its global influence en route to emerging as one of the system’s premier great powers. Along with China’s spectacular rise over the last four decades, India’s own remarkable rise further encapsulates the current global shift of economic power from Europe and North America to Asia. Together, these trends herald the true beginning of the Asian Century, whereby big Asia powers will gain the capability to dominate, dictate, and ultimately define the contours of international affairs.
March 2019 marked the 46th anniversary of the beginning of the Chipko Andolan, which is often credited as India’s first environmental justice movement. However, the history of India’s environmental justice movements can be traced much further back. Early grassroots resistances to British rule, such as the Bengal peasant revolt of 1859-63 against indigo plantations, carried ecological undertones.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its founding principles, defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It further states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic, or social condition.” Physical health of individuals has been the major focus of public health care systems across the globe, more so in developing countries including India.
Care work has been the focus of policy debates after the International Labour Organization (ILO) published a report titled “Care Work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work” in 2018. The ILO observed that care work involves a range of skills that are often not formally recognized or remunerated, and involving working conditions that are not regulated. Furthermore, care work has an undisputable gender burden with two-thirds of all care workers being women who dedicate themselves to unpaid care work 3.2 times more often than men.
The visit of PM Narendra Modi to Japan for the G20 Summit in Osaka gave him an opportunity to exchange views with PM Abe of Japan for the first time in his second term. Earlier this year, Modi came back to power with a decisive mandate in the general elections which has given him and his government greater flexibility when it comes to foreign affairs. In addition, the appointment of Dr. S. Jaishankar as the Minister of External Affairs is a strong signal about the importance accorded to foreign affairs by this government.
The Indian police, which traces its origin back to 1843 and is still largely run on the British-era Indian Police Act, 1861, has been struggling to come to terms with India’s class, caste, gender, and religious diversities. The reasons for this may be due to a lack of training, sensitization, and/or inherent personnel biases according to the 2018 Status of Policing in India Report.