Academic journal article Indian Foreign Affairs Journal

Marching with a Billion: Analysing Narendra Modi's Government at Midterm

Academic journal article Indian Foreign Affairs Journal

Marching with a Billion: Analysing Narendra Modi's Government at Midterm

Article excerpt

Uday Mahurkar, Marching with a Billion: Analysing Narendra Modi 's Government at Midterm (Gurugram, Penguin Random House India, 2017) Pages: 288, Price: Rs. 499.00

This book is largely an assessment of the performances of the Modi Government that came to rule India after receiving a massive mandate from the electorate in May 2014. While it may seem to be an all-round appraisal of several issues, it is in fact an essential read for diplomats and foreign policy scholars, as the book provides enormous information and insight regarding the working of various ministries and departments that are useful to understand the dynamics that impact foreign and national security policy of the country.

This book can also be easily prescribed to the academic community, who may not find academic exactitude and rigor in research that could have gone into it, but the mountain of information, including primary source materials, will be of use to them to make their analysis of where the Modi government is headed and where it lacks either in policy making or implementation of its declared programmes.

Politicians, especially opposition political leaders of all hues will discover in this book certain developments in the last three years that make the country proud. They may also hit upon certain sources of inspiration and simultaneously find loopholes that they would like to capitalise on for electoral purposes.

The author has mentioned several aspects related to Modi's personality and evolution as a leader, yet the book is not a biography. Nor is the book an academic exercise making serious comparisons with performances of other leaders or political parties at midterm. Clearly, this is neither an opposition-led, rhetoric-packed attempt to defame the government, nor is it a government-inspired propaganda mission.

It consists of biographical sketches, government programmes and schemes that may be construed as plain propaganda, makes critical observations on issues that could provide fodder to opposition political parties, and also includes compilation of information that would be of considerable use for academic exercises and media commentaries.

Significantly, this book covers many aspects of domestic developments in India in the last three years that have wide ranging implications for India's stand on global issues, and the Indian foreign policy. The transformation in the society brought about by good governance initiatives, steps taken to further open up the domestic market for foreign investors and traders, measures for speedy disposals of project applications and combating corrupt practices will complement the country's foreign as well as economic policies.

Thus, this book has something or the other to offer to various people in diverse professions. It will also be valuable to future historians who shall attempt to examine India's domestic development as well as where India stands in the world order in times to come.

It consists of eight chapters. However, the key issues in the book that draw considerable attention are: "A Digital-techno revolution in the Making", good governance as an "Agent of Change", "Building India" through infrastructure development, and smart fiscal management, developing "team work" to promote "Collective Responsibility", and a foreign policy strategy that is bold and assertive where necessary and that is marked by a new style of diplomacy combining symbolism with substance.

The author through the chapters has tried to underscore some developments in the last three years of the Modi government that would positively influence India's persona in the world and, by implication, India's engagement with the international community. In his assessment of the economic performance of the Modi government at mid-term, the author gives high marks to the government as India's GDP growth rate is now ahead of China and because India has emerged as the number one destination of foreign direct investment. …

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