What Narendra Modi has Jawaharlal Nehru to thank for5 min read 03 Feb 2015, 04:35 PM IST
Like Nehru, Modi's attempt to position his party to stand in for the country is part of realizing an ideological vision
When the Constituent Assembly of the then-united India met in December 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru declared, “A free India can be nothing but a republic." Nehru’s immediate concern was the sovereignty of a state, uniting India’s numerous territories under the law and deriving its constituent power from the people rather than the inherited sovereignty of the Indian princes. Like Nehru, Narendra Modi and Barack Obama came to power hailed as transcendent figures, ones who would make a break with established forms of power and unleash the pent-up energies of their people. While Obama came to India humbled by the tyranny of unrealized (or unrealistic) expectations, Modi is enjoying an extended honeymoon, unusual in Indian politics and seemingly detached from his actual ability to deliver on his campaign promises. Yet Modi needs Obama to succeed. With Europe moribund, stagnation in Japan, and economic uncertainty elsewhere, the success of his signature Make in India project largely depends on the ability of the US economy to serve as the engine of global economic growth. While Make in India may be a few decades too late, as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan recently pointed out, the substantial trade delegation led by John Kerry preceding Obama’s visit alerts us not only to the interest of the US government and capital in India, but of the curious relationship shared between India and the US since the middle of the last century.