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The Modi method: words and action

24 May 2018

Discussion about the Indian Prime Minister’s words and actions inevitably draws in China in terms of differentiation. Prominent in the Prime Minister’s overseas speeches are India’s commitment to open, transparent rule based on international norms and respect for sovereignty. His national security aims and defence intentions are reiterated verbally at bilateral and multinational meetings, even as crucial policy documents remain in draft form, while his Make in India election promise, a natural fit for defence procurement, continues to cause delays, attracting criticisms.

Key points:

  • Prime Minister Modi’s success in state elections, and his speeches that encompass his foreign policy and domestic Brand India commitments, obscure what have been described as ‘directionless policies’.
  • Modi’s rhetorical skills build a landscape around his government’s vision and intentions for India in its international relations.
  • His Make in India promise impinges on defence production with a resultant lack of progress that draws criticism of his overall security policy.
  • Modi’s overseas travels, together with his ‘rule of law’ and ‘freedom of navigation’ speeches, clearly demarcate a difference between India and China.
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