US - INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW

and then as prime minister. In the Asian context, it is the “east” that is a major source of technology, investment funds and trade that India seeks. Indian foreign policy under Modi inherited a situation that shaped his own policies – such as the end of the Cold War and market ori- ented economic reforms – occur- ring simultaneously in the early 1990s -- that forced India to look outward after decades of looking inward. The first (end of the Cold War) strengthened security and the second (market reforms) sig- nificantly improved the economy. With objective of boosting the sluggish economy (which one prominent Indian economist sar- castically called “the Hindu rate of growth”), India now had to look for trade expansion, technology, for- eign investments, etc., something you see from the time of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in the early 1990s and later espoused by Modi and implemented by his brilliant foreign secretary, S. Jaishankar. The era of inward looking was over, as witnessed by Modi’s many highly publicized overseas visits. India after the early 1990s (and Modi now) took a foreign policy stance very similar to what the Chinese did after their economic reforms began in the late 1970s, that is shaping foreign policy in ways to grow the economy on the assumption that a strong economy is not only good domestic politics but good for the country[‘s influ- ence on the world stage and in its immediate neighborhood. What about the more pro- West, pro-Israel policy that Modi seems to have intensi- fied? Yes, he has intensified it, but he also sees the importance of keep- ing good relations with the Middle East at the same time as he has tried to keep India out of the developing Iran-Saudi Arabia divide which in some ways is a current expression of the much older Shia-Sunni divide in that region. So he has carefully tread- ed that path and veered away also from the U.S.-Iran confrontation and even supported Iran in some instances. For example, his gov- ernment has explicitly rejected imposing sanctions on Iran after the US announced it would do so. So his is not just a pro-Israeli policy but also a balancing policy that factors in Arab interests. India has never played a zero-sum game in dealing with the region. That said, India has significantly increased its economic relation- ship with Israel, but there are at the same time limits that factor in Arab interests. India for example has not rejected the Palestinian Homeland demand, it has never dumped them and even now con- tinues to push for a moderate Palestinian state. You have been spending time in China over the past several years teaching at a prominent University in Shanghai. What about Modi's conduct of the China relationship? The most important aspect of India's relationship with China is also driven by economics. And one should look at this in the con- text of his support of globalization and the lowering of trade barriers, though there is opposition to this both by the far left and far right— for different reasons . Consider for example Modi's speech at Davos earlier this year espousing global- ization where he matched Chinese Primier Xi Jinping’s speech the previous there also taking a strong stand for global- ization. How do you view Modi's world outlook? As you look at some of his speeches -- Modi sees India's place in the world as depending on the strength of India's econo- my. In South Asia, India has want- ed to be the prime player for a long time and in some fundamen- tal ways that depends on the strength of the economy. India in part lost influence internationally and its own region due to an ane- mic economy from the 1950s to the early 1990s which generated domestic frustration—and a cer- tain contempt as a country that was a messy democracy unable effectively to tackle poverty and provide jobs to the tens of thou- sands of people who came on the job market each month. This malaise began to change significantly under Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister (and later Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh, wjho launched far-reaching economic reforms that had a sig- nificant impact on the economy. At the same time, it reached out to countries that could help it eco- nomically, like Japan, the US and Indian foreign policy under Modi inherited a situation that shaped his own policies – such as the end of the Cold War and market oriented economic reforms – occurring simultaneously in the early 1990s -- that forced India to look outward after decades of looking inward. 13 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JULY-SEPTEMBER 2018

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