India has been embroiled in a foreign policy crisis with China, after violent clashes along their mountainous border. But if Delhi really wants to get tough with Beijing, it must first ensure its economy is in fighting shape.
The Indian economy that is facing the COVID-related crisis today was already badly affected by an under reported slowdown for more than one year.
Although India holds strategic reserves of crude oil and food, it entered the coronavirus pandemic with severe shortages of essential medical equipment.
The Indian government’s COVID-19 economic package is smaller than the government is touting, and cloaked in a lot of self-reliance rhetoric that multinationals hear as protectionism. A slow economic recovery may hurt the BJP at the state level, but is unlikely to nationally.
While Prime Minister Modi’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in India is not going without criticism, he retains the political advantage over the opposition. He is likely to push the burden of responsibility to the states.
Covid-19 measures prevent large gatherings during the upcoming state elections, pushing more campaigns online. The BJP has a more pervasive presence online, but opposition parties like Congress are catching up.
Once again, Chinese and Indian forces find themselves locked into a tense border standoff. That the latest encounters are occurring at multiple locations along the Line of Actual Control suggests a high degree of Chinese premeditation and approval for the military’s activities from the very top.
India’s unprecedented lockdown exposed deep issues in the government’s ability to care for its most precariously situated citizens. Yet, according to survey data, even among the most deprived people surveyed, the government has mechanisms to transfer essential goods and services.
Access to the Andaman and Nicobar islands would bring Australia to the heart of the Indian Ocean.
In South Asia, the coronavirus pandemic is at once a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a humanitarian crisis.