Modi 2.0: What next for India?

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi comfortably winning the recent general election, the agenda for his second term is now under the spotlight. 

Tuesday, June 11, 15:00 UK / 10:00 EDT

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had a landslide victory in the April-May election. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance retained its parliamentary majority while the BJP extended its single-party majority, defying expectations of a close electoral contest and delivering a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

Modi’s party campaigned heavily on nationalist themes, reassuring some communities but polarising others. While the main opposition Congress party made only a slight improvement on its 2014 election showing, the BJP made considerable electoral ground in eastern India, where there was most evidence of poll-related violence.

A new cabinet has been announced and the government’s key policymaking think tank says India is set for radical reforms pertaining to labour laws and land acquisition, as Modi strives to court investment and bolster growth.

Yet prospective investors anticipating such a ‘big bang’ may need to rebalance expectations, given the lobbying force of economic nationalists within Modi’s core support. 

While the Trump administration continues to buffet India economically, withdrawing trade privileges and refusing to countenance Iran oil waivers, Modi is set to step up his personal diplomacy with Chinese President Xi Jinping, hosting him for an informal summit later this year.

More immediately, all eyes will be on Modi’s interactions with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Kyrgyzstan this week.

  • What does the election say about the changing nature of the BJP’s support base and the outlook for opposition parties in India?
  • Might the ostensible political stability of a second Modi term be offset by increased social discord?
  • Could India see a spate of liberal economic reforms, placating investors, or will the BJP face pressure to pursue a more protectionist agenda?
  • How will Modi deliver the jobs he promised in 2014 and sustain India’s (reported) growth story?
  • Will Modi recalibrate India’s China ties, and could strains in India-US relations hinder Washington’s South Asia policy?
  • Is there a risk of further escalation in India-Pakistan tensions, or are Delhi and Islamabad set for a rapprochement? 

Join us on June 11 to put your questions to three of our expert advisors:

  • David Washbrook -- Trinity College, Cambridge;
  • CP Chandrasekhar -- Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; and
  • Rudra Chaudhuri -- King’s College, London.