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Modi's stance on religious violence faces major tests

Monday, March 16, 2015

Subject

Outlook for communal politics and conflict.

Significance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces growing pressure to distance himself from the Hindu nationalist hard-right, with which he has been associated throughout his political career. This pressure has emerged both externally and internally: while US President Barack Obama during his official visit to India underlined the necessity of preserving India's religious plurality, the heavy defeat of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi state elections was seen partly as the electorate's rejection of Hindu nationalism.

Impacts

  • Delhi's ties with Dhaka could worsen if election campaigning in Assam results in acute anti-migrant/anti-Muslim violence.
  • A major episode of communal violence would damage India's ties with Middle Eastern and Western partners.
  • Hindu nationalist groups will pose a risk to Modi's policies on land and subsidies.
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