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Russia-India: From Rethink to Adjust to Upgrade

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Russian-Indian relations are traditionally good. The chemistry between the leaders is excellent, and members of the public are well disposed toward each other. Economic ties have long been stalling, however, and mutual suspicions have recently been creeping in over India’s relations with America, and Russia’s with China. To make the good relationship truly great, Moscow must rethink, adjust, and upgrade its approach to India. Vladimir Putin’s forthcoming visit to New Delhi could be a starting point.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visits India next week, it will be one of just two foreign trips he has made this year, the other one being his June meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Geneva. Putin skipped both the G20 and COP26; an expected trip to China was rescheduled due to COVID; yet the Russian leader has decided to travel to New Delhi. This step is hopefully more than mere symbolism in the traditionally warm Russo-Indian relations and not simply a signal that at a time of increasingly tense relations with the West, Russia has important friends elsewhere in the world. Still, even if Russia’s relations with India are good, in order for them to become great, a major effort is needed.

The July 2021 edition of Russia’s National Security Strategy describes relations with New Delhi as a “special privileged strategic partnership,” and discusses them in the same paragraph as Russo-Chinese ties. The personal chemistry between Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is excellent. Recently, Modi has demonstrated India’s interest in economic projects in Russia’s Far East, thus extending New Delhi’s Look East policy all the way to Vladivostok. Over Washington’s objections, India has gone ahead with the purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, due to be delivered before the end of the year. Modi is also one of only four foreign leaders to have been awarded Russia’s top decoration, the Order of St. Andrew. Ordinary Russians see India as a reliably friendly country with which their own nation has a virtually problem-free relationship. For their part, most Indians regard Russia as a proven friend that in the course of India’s seventy-five years of independence has never caused their country strategic harm.

Yet issues are piling up on many fronts, requiring both the Indian and Russian leaderships to rethink, adjust, and upgrade the relationship to make it fit for the twenty-first century environment. In global geopolitical terms, the main issue is that Moscow and New Delhi, traditional friends and longtime allies, now find themselves ever more closely linked to two rival superpowers, China and the United States. Moreover, India’s relations with China following the 2020 border clashes in the Himalayas, and Russia’s with the United States since the 2014 Ukraine crisis, can be described as confrontation. Thus, in a situation when their best friends are bonding with their worst enemies, the main task for both New Delhi and Moscow is to shield the Indo-Russian strategic partnership from the wider and increasingly adverse global context, and uphold mutual trust.

In geoeconomic terms, despite ongoing cooperation in areas ranging from nuclear energy to outer space to the Arctic, not to mention armaments development and production, the obvious weakness of the Indo-Russian relationship is its small and stagnant trade volumes. With America and China—despite the bad political relationship with the latter—India, a fast-rising economy, trades to the tune of $100 billion each, while commerce with Russia still languishes around a mere $10 billion. The reason is again plain to see: while 85 percent of India’s economy is now in private hands, Indo-Russian economic ties still rest on government-to-government agreements. After the old model of Soviet-Indian economic relations collapsed in 1991, trade volumes plummeted. The USSR used to be among India’s top three economic partners; the Russian Federation’s current rank is in the twentieth to twenty-fifth range.

Still, Russia remains strong in some important niches, above all military-technical cooperation. Since India’s first purchase of Mig-21 fighters back in 1962, arms trade has been the cornerstone of bilateral relations. Yet India’s growing desire to diversify its arms imports and, recently, its clear intention to develop and produce weapons systems itself, have led to a slump in Russia’s share of the Indian arms market. As a result, Russia’s share of that market has shrunk to just under 50 percent. There is ever stronger competition from Europe and even more so from the United States.

For all their professed pivot to Asia, the current Russian elites remain Eurocentric to the core, and have little time for India. Russia’s government-owned corporations and private business actors find it much easier and more profitable to do business with China than with India. Russian media outlets have little presence in India and do a mediocre job of explaining Indian politics and policies to their audiences. The Russian public has very limited knowledge and understanding of what is going on in India. Tourism and cultural contacts have been picking up in recent years, but the pandemic has severely limited them. An effort to revive the practice of inviting Indian students to study at Russian universities, after an initially promising start, has also suffered from COVID-related restrictions.

Ironically, India’s elites are also Western-centric, but unlike Russia’s, they are also Western-leaning, and particularly focused on the United States. Their ambition is to become part of the global elite. To them, Russia is not a priority, and interest in it is scant. The Indian media has virtually no correspondents based in Russia. To cover Russia-related issues, Indian media editors usually rely on Western—mostly American and British—reporting and analysis, which is highly critical of Russian policies. Tellingly, India’s vibrant technology sector has very few contacts with Russia and Russians.

All these problems are too big to be resolved in a single and short presidential visit. However, they must not be ignored if the Indo-Russian strategic partnership is to live up to its name in the decade ahead. The Russians need to step back and decide what it is they want from the Indian connection, what the opportunities for and obstacles to this desired state of relations are, and what must be done in order to achieve their objectives. From this perspective, three actions are of central importance for Russia as it proceeds along this path: to rethink, to adjust, and to upgrade.

Rethink means, above all, seeing India for what it is and where it is headed. Far too many in Russian elite circles still regard India as the third world country that it was during the heyday of Soviet-Indian friendship in the 1960s–1980s. Those people have clearly missed India’s stunning economic and technological success of the past three decades. As a result, Russia should not expect its large neighbor in Eurasia to act as a non-aligned inward-looking nation, keeping a low profile in international relations and behaving like a middle power. Instead, Russians should acknowledge India’s new status and self-image as a great power, its focus on rapid economic development, and its ambition to become a global economic powerhouse and a leader in modern technologies. They need to understand the fundamental reasons behind India’s growing closeness with the United States, and its increasing hostility with China.

Thus, a rethink requires a much closer study of modern India, and a deeper understanding of that vast and highly complex nation, which is rising to the level of a world power. This can be achieved by supporting Indian and South Asian studies in Russia; expanding media coverage of Indian political, economic, and diplomatic developments; and promoting scientific, educational, and cultural ties, as well as tourism and other people-to-people connections.

Adjust means factoring in all these realities in developing Russia’s own strategy toward India: something that does not currently exist. It is clear that cultivating and developing the strategic partnership should remain the overall objective of this yet-to-be-devised strategy. However, the partnership should be structured and styled as one of equals, with Moscow dropping all residual vestiges of its previously sometimes patronizing attitudes to its Indian counterparts.

On the conceptual level, Russia needs to take a second look at New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific strategy. An in-depth strategic dialogue with New Delhi on that subject could dispel Moscow’s presently negative and suspicious attitude to the strategy. The Russians need to accept that New Delhi’s ideas have different sources and objectives than Washington’s similarly titled strategy. Essentially, India’s new strategy is a logical continuation of its Look East policy. By the same token, Moscow could increase mutual trust with New Delhi by working through and patiently dispelling Indian concerns regarding Russia’s strategic ties with China and its situational cooperation with Pakistan.

These clarifying discussions could pave the way to engaging New Delhi in a strategic dialogue on Greater Eurasia, which is the strategic framework for Moscow’s approach. One might consider amplifying Russia’s traditionally continental geopolitical concept by adding a maritime element covering the seas and oceans washing Eurasia. For the purposes of a geopolitical dialogue with India, the relevant areas could include the Arctic, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean—all the way from Murmansk to Mumbai. By the same token, India’s strategy, which so far has been couched predominantly in maritime terms, might get a continental dimension, starting with Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Iran. Creating synergies between Moscow and New Delhi’s strategies in both domains could be a tantalizing proposition.

On this basis, Moscow needs to engage more closely with New Delhi as it further fleshes out the idea of a Greater Eurasian partnership. Maintaining strategic partnerships with both India and China at bilateral and trilateral (RIC) levels is crucial for general geopolitical stability in Eurasia. Russia, which has neither the ambition nor the resources to dominate Greater Eurasia, could play a key role in maintaining Eurasian equilibrium, which requires Russo-Indo-Chinese understanding. While being realistic about its partners and their complicated relations, Russia needs to proactively facilitate efforts at better understanding between New Delhi and Beijing, and promote positive interaction among the three great powers. Such interaction is also needed for engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a key aspect of the Greater Eurasian Partnership. It is even more necessary for building up the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a continent-wide dialogue platform.

Moreover, close relations with New Delhi would help Moscow in engaging pragmatically on Eurasian/Indo-Pacific issues with Washington and Tokyo, which are linked with New Delhi through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Much as India finds Russia’s partnership with China useful for managing its own relations with Beijing, Moscow could use its close relations with New Delhi to weigh in diplomatically on the Indo-Pacific agenda. India, which is genuinely interested in an improved relationship between Russia and the United States, might be useful here. At the global level, Russia would benefit from closer interaction with India not only within the BRICS, but also at the United Nations.

On a number of regional issues, from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf and the broader Middle East, India needs to be treated as Russia’s privileged interlocutor and partner. Sidelining New Delhi, as has occasionally happened in discussions on Afghanistan, should never happen again. New global issues, from the spread of pandemics to climate change and energy transition, open up broad new areas for Russia-India cooperation, even as they require the careful management of differences. Engaging early with each other would favor cooperative elements over competitive ones and make it possible to chart a coordinated approach to what have become vital issues for the world community.

Upgrade means elevating Russia’s relations with India to the level of its other strategic partnership: with China. This does not mean that Moscow-New Delhi ties must resemble Moscow-Beijing ones. The two relationships are very different, as is the wider context in which they operate. The idea is above all to explore and exploit economic opportunities, without which relations with India will always lag behind those with China. There have been many attempts to expand Indo-Russian economic ties, but progress in that direction has been painfully slow.

Most of these efforts have followed the well-trodden path of government-to-government contracts, which is not to be abandoned. One opportunity at hand that is truly unique is deepening military-technical cooperation. For decades, Russia has been the leading provider of weapons systems for the Indian military. For its part, India is serious in pressing ahead with the Make in India model. It also has much more to offer in terms of advanced technology, particularly in the information sphere. There have been several examples of successful Russo-Indian weapons development and production, like the BrahMos missile. Compared to other weapons producers, Russia is more flexible in engaging collaboratively with others. This is probably the way to go.

One has to be realistic. The Indian and Russian economies remain far less complementary than those of China and Russia. The Russian and Indian business communities are largely disinterested in each other’s countries, where they see few opportunities for themselves. This can only be changed by a joint effort in creative thinking. At their upcoming meeting, President Putin and Prime Minister Modi need to stimulate such an effort by ordering an in-depth study of potential areas of cooperation to be conducted in time for their next annual get-together.

From our partner RIAC

South Asia

Indian Republic Day: A Black Day for Kashmiris



India celebrates ‘Republic Day’ on January 26th every year to commemorate the day when the Constitution of India came into effect, replacing the Government of India Act 1935, and making India a republic. However, it is observed as a ‘black day’ in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) because it marks the day when the Indian government stripped the region of its autonomous status and imposed direct rule from New Delhi. Kashmir has been a contentious issue between India and Pakistan since the two countries gained independence in 1947. The people of Jammu and Kashmir were promised a high degree of autonomy under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which was in effect until August 2019, when the Indian government revoked it. This autonomy included the right to a separate constitution, a separate flag, and laws that were distinct from the rest of India. However, in practice, the Indian government has been involved in suppressing the political and basic rights of the people of Jammu & Kashmir and denying them their right to self-determination.

The special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which was revoked by the Indian government in 2019, had given the region a high degree of autonomy and protected its distinct identity. The revocation of this special status has led to widespread protests and resentment among the people of the region, who see it as an infringement on their rights and an attempt by the Indian government to suppress their political and cultural identity and right of self-determination.

The Indian government’s handling of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has also been criticized by international human rights organizations, who in their recent reports have highlighted how the Indian government has been involved in human rights violations of the people of Kashmir, through the use of excessive force, arbitrary arrests, and censorship of the media. International Human Rights Law forbids the unjustified deprivation of life. The right to life is embodied in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is being flagrantly violated in Kashmiri. India has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well (ICCPR). Which hasn’t prevented it from abusing the law, though.

When the Indian government removed Indian Occupied Kashmir’s special status and sent thousands more troops to the area, the situation for the locals of Kashmir became much tougher. Additionally, India reverted to age-old slavery techniques by enforcing a curfew on the helpless population, cutting off the internet and telecommunications, and detaining political figures, leaving 1.47 billion people cut off from the outside world, devoid of fundamental human rights, and living in dread. Since the repeal of Article 370 and the ensuing curfew, there have been reports of nighttime raids in which youngsters have been kidnapped and tortured, as well as of women being harassed. Intentionally violating both international humanitarian law and human rights law, the Indian military has intentionally dismembered, injured, and several times murdered people during this forceful conquest. The Kashmiri diaspora in the UK and Europe observe “Black Day” on January 26th each year to protest the Indian government’s illegal actions in Jammu& Kashmir. This day marks the anniversary of the Indian Constitution coming into effect in 1950, which provides a pretext for the formalization of Indian control over Kashmir, a region that has been the subject of ongoing conflict and human rights abuses. The diaspora uses this day to raise awareness about human rights abuses and the ongoing conflict in the region, and to call for self-determination for the people of Kashmir. They also call on the international community to break the status quo imposed by the fascist Indian government. For instance, the president of Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK president claimed that “the people of Kashmir have challenged India to take out the forces (one million) from the valley and then celebrate the republic day”. Jammu & Kashmir salvation movement president Altaf Ahmed also call the UN for intervention to protect the rights of Kashmiris.

India has long claimed to be the world’s largest democracy and a champion of human rights. However, it has a long history of human rights abuses and political suppression in the region of Kashmir. Despite India’s claims of being the world’s largest democratic state, it has been involved use of excessive force against peaceful protesters, the imposition of strict curfews and internet shutdowns, and the detention of political leaders and activists in the Kashmir region. The Indian government has also been criticized for its heavy-handed tactics in dealing with the insurgency in the region, which has resulted in widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances. The Indian government has also failed to provide the people of Kashmir with basic democratic rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to self-determination.

It is certainly true that the Indian government’s actions in the region of Kashmir have been widely criticized for human rights abuses and the suppression of political dissent. The deployment of a large number of security forces in the region, along with heavy-handed tactics, have resulted in widespread human rights abuses and a lack of protection for the people of Kashmir. This is in contrast to the protection of basic human and democratic rights, which are supposed to be guaranteed to all citizens of India by the Constitution. How a democratic state can be the largest human rights violator? A self-proclaimed secular state which does not give the rights of minorities cannot be a democratic republic state.

The situation in Kashmir raises questions about the Indian government’s commitment to protecting the rights of all of its citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion. A democratic state should ensure that all citizens are protected and treated fairly under the law, but the actions of the Indian government in Kashmir suggest that this is not always the case. Similarly, a self-proclaimed secular state like India should ensure that all religious groups are treated fairly, but the Indian government has been criticized for its treatment of minority groups in the country, particularly the Muslim population of Kashmir.

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South Asia

A Brief History of British Imperialism in India

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Map, "The Indian Empire and surrounding countries" (1909), Imperial Gazetteer of India. Via Wikipedia

The British Empire

The British Empire or Kingdom was an imperial entity that changed the global order in every way imaginable. The Kingdom of Great Britain was conceived in 1707 when Scotland and Wales joined England under the sovereignty of the Crown. Having ruled for three centuries, its imperialist tendencies had started to show quite early in the 17th century when Britain lay claim to its very first colony in Jamestown, Virginia. Imperial tendencies refer to the aggressive and expansionist ideology that had been donned by the Empire. British imperialism refers to the attempts and following successes of Britain in expanding its power territorially. It did this by infiltrating various regions of the world and forming colonies; though the colonies were self-managed for the most part, they were answerable to the monarchy and were exploited thoroughly without any compensation. Their foreign policy was to self-portray as traders and travelers and then obtain regional control over time. It was a global phenomenon, and it was majorly aided by England’s foray into maritime expansion. Shipping routes were new and undiscovered which led to new lands ripe for exploration and exploitation. There was also a certain rush within the Empire to expand due to the competitive nature of the international system at that time. It was a challenging race for control between England, Spain, France, and Holland.

The colonized regions of the world include North America, Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong), Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya), and more. Around sixty-five current nation-states gained independence from the Empire. However, Britain left behind deep scars within the system that are detrimental to progress to this day.


The British monarchy played a dominant role in one of the world’s greatest tragedies – The Transatlantic Slave Trade which lasted from about the 16th century to the 19th century. It altered the geopolitical dimensions of the world through massive population displacements. Even though later on it called for the Abolition (1833) and Emancipation of slavery and slaves – it had been a decisive enough move to alter world history.


The formation of colonies was for both political and economic power. They were sources of power with a combined manpower of over 450 million people. The colonies presented as pure profit as the natives and slates weren’t given adequate fiscal compensation. Working for pennies on the dollar, the indigenous populations were forced to work in less than favorable working conditions for long taxing hours. The major trade from colonies consisted of sugar, spices, silk, cotton, salt, silver, gold, ivory, tobacco, tea, and more. Many of these such as mining metals and extracting sugar are incredibly labor-intensive works.

The empire used various tactics to carve out strongholds in their regions of choice. The establishment of trading companies – Hudson Bay Company and East India Company, and Strait Settlements.


The Britishers have been responsible for most of the socio-cultural divide in the Subcontinent. Before their arrival in 1600s, the region was flourishing under the Mughal Rule with various castes and religions coexisting peacefully. Once the Empire came into control, they sowed seeds of discord amongst the masses along racial and religious lines. The promotion of white supremacy and the English language enveloped the people in a sense of inferiority that still rears its head to this day. The Muslim-Hindu divide became more pronounced after the War of Independence in 1857.

Indian Subcontinent

Formation of the East India Company

In the last months of the year 1600, a group of London-based traders asked for a royal charter – a document that essentially brings legal recognition to organizations and declarations and is granted by the monarch of the time, in order to expand their trade to the East Indies via new naval routes. They wanted to set up a new organization called The East India Company in the Indian subcontinent due to its massive potential. The request was granted by Queen Elizabeth I and the merchants set out, headed by James Lancaster. Once they reached it, they had to first request permission to establish their company. Sir Thomas Roe was sent forward to conduct negotiations with Mughal Emperor Jahangir who was eventually won over by the British charm. Finally, the company set up shop in Surat in the first decade of the 17th century.

Entrance into Politics

The initial interest of the Britishers was indeed purely economic and the company was working independently of the Kingdom. However, soon it became a full-blown empire of sorts with its own armed forces and land. They became responsible for almost half the goods being exported out of India. Their trade included spices, silk, cotton, dye, ammunition, glass, clay-made goods, opium, and tea. Their control over the remaining pillars of the state – Military and Politics, was initiated by General Robert Clive. Clive was a member of the EIC who joined the company army and led it to victory against Siraj-ud-Daulah – The Nawab of Bengal, in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. As he replaced the Nawab as the new governor of Bengal, it marked the start of British incursion into Indian politics. As another century passed and as India became more valuable to England, the Crown took over ruling in 1857 after the War of Independence, eventually dissolving East India Company in 1874.

British Raj

The British rule, as known in India – British Raj, was significantly more parasitic than the East India Company was with its ventures. It managed to destroy systems that had been thriving for centuries.

Disregarding Traditional Ways

British economy brought with it a complete disregard for cultural sentimentality and practices. They were in a global race for capital and territory, something which was not compatible with the traditional practices of the Indian people. They were made to abandon their ancestral teachings and ways of craftsmanship to fall in line with the mechanized ways of the British economy. Cheaper machine-made products replaced handmade goods. Those who could not work for hours in factories or toil away on the fields were suddenly out of jobs. There was a massive decline in employment in the vulnerable sectors of society – women, the elderly, and disabled communities.

Economic Policies

Forced labor and poor pay weren’t the only means through which British imperialism was ripping Indian society into shreds. There was a hefty price to pay because of their economic policies introduced in 1813, the repercussions of which can still be felt in modern times. The infamous policy of ‘One Way Free Trade’ which was introduced in 1813 set forth a precedent for British trade. According to it, British exports into India were not taxed, nor were they met with any tariffs, while Indian exports were taxed heavily. India was drained. It meant that Britain was working with a pure profit off of Indian resources and labor while actively suppressing any nationalized economy of the subcontinent.

Class Divide

England was front and center in creating and cementing a class divide within India. White supremacy was prevalent and with it came a heavy dose of linguistic racism. English was the primary mode of trade and communication in the upper echelons. The English Education Act was passed in 1835 which got funds reallocated for restructuring educational institutions for the sole purpose of making English the language of instruction and discussion.


Once World War II was initiated in 1939, Britain was up against Axis Powers – Germany, Italy, and Japan. Although it had the support of other Allied powers, still the cost was too high for Britain to bear due to its resources being spread out amongst the colonies all over the world. It directed the cash flows to the war efforts leading to massive famines in India. Overall, during its imperial rule, the Crown contributed to no less than 12 famines in India spanning from the years 1769-1944. The most atrocious one was The Bengal Famine. Lasting for little over a year, this famine set India back decades as it slaughtered millions and led to an internal economic collapse as well, sending many tumbling below the poverty line. The money that could have preserved the masses was instead used to fund arms and ammunition.

The Disintegration of Hindu-Muslim Relations

The British and their colonial legacy are responsible for the religious disharmony that is seen in modern-day India. The Britishers borrowed the divide-and-rule philosophy from Julius Caesar and used it to segregate the communities of India. The Sepoy Mutiny saw a religious fracture in the social fabric of the subcontinent which isolated both Hindus and Muslims – a previously co-habiting community into separate metaphorical corners. It eventually led to the Muslims forming an in-group mentality due to the common suffering. This ‘Us vs Them’ approach led to the 1947 partition and is still visible in modern-day India keeping the socio-religious conflict alive.


Much of the western world and most of Britain especially is built upon the backs of colonial labor. Their infrastructure, factories, and entire social standing are built because of the free and forced labor of the former colonies. Excess taxation and plunder are the only reasons why Britain survived the industrialization of the world and managed to maintain its position at the top.

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Hindutva has overshadowed Indian Republic Ideology

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India Modi

India observes Republic Day on January 26 each year to honor the 1950 Constitution of India, which succeeded the Government of India Act (1935) as the country’s governing law. Following decolonization, India’s new constitution was secular, emphasizing a reasonable separation of religion and state matters rather than strict demarcation as in many Western democracies. However, the political victory of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in the late 1990s and past six years of Moodi’s victory, deduced an obvious Hindu interpretation of democracy that differs from the existential western form of democracy.  Religious content has increased in India’s electoral environment (BJP). The post-colonial era has conveyed an alternative nationalism, one that is founded not on secular ideas but rather on the idea that Hindu culture and Indian culture are inseparable. Moodi is ready to transform India into a contemporary Hindu version of controlled democracy through his widespread advocacy of Hindutva ideology.

The secularism of the Indian Republic has always been opposed by the Hindutva movement. A significant portion of Muslims were persuaded to remain in India instead of migrating to the newly founded Islamic state of Pakistan because, at the time, independent India proclaimed itself a secular state, offering freedom to all minority groups as well as citizens’ fundamental rights. All those who supported secularism were perished tragically due to the brutality of the rising Hindu extremism. Even Mahatma Gandhi, the most influential Hindu leader, was assassinated by the RSS because of his secular vision. Since then, Hindutva has become the core of every right-wing political group in India, including the RSS, Shiv Sena, Hindu Mahasbha, and BJP, led by Narendra Modi.

Since many years, termite fascism—which rejects equality—has been encroaching on India in the form of Hindutva. Apparently, in present day India, the Hindu Rashtra is theoretically opposed to caste discrimination against political Hindus. Modi’s ordinary beginning and ascension to authority offer conclusive proof of a free and fair modernity. However, in practice, Hindutva is ready to accept the daily coercions that characterize contemporary Indian society. Instead of assuring the due rights of minorities residing in India, the parliament validated the communal, majoritarian, and intolerable Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)  – 2019 (CAA) followed by Indian High Court’s suspicious decision on the Babri Masjid.  By fabricating a “Muslim threat” to support the BJP’s anti-Muslim actions, Hindutva has exacerbated social divisions in India. Undoubtedly, right-wing Hindu nationalism threatens India’s constitutional foundations by establishing a Hindu Rashtra. This includes the 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the removal of Kashmir’s autonomous status, and the Kerala hijab ban. Fascism is reshaping itself in India. It has infiltrated Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, and now seriously endangers Indian democracy.

Similarly, the inauguration of a Hindu temple in Ayudha on August 5, 2020 (the same day a year after Article 370 was revoked) in lieu of a Mughal-era mosque razed by a right-wing Hindu mob in 1992. This confirms that the BJP has re-energized Savarkar’s plan of Hindutva as a political religion, although in a decidedly populist tone. Conservatism is now increasingly couched in current class semantics (“rich” and “poor”) rather than ancient caste terminology. Some people are considered more equal than others. Muslims, Christians, Marxists, and anti-caste campaigners are the new targets of prejudice and rejection. Individuals under such categories would be deemed political Hindus if they accepted Hindutva. In the new Hindu government, the lines are porous, and everything is negotiable.

Here, the point of concern is whether secularism would continue to serve India’s central philosophy. Perhaps it would be determined by a confluence of political factors, specifically the BJP’s future electoral success and the tactics the opposition uses to challenge the ruling party. Hindu nationalism is stripping India of one of its greatest strengths at a time when nations all over the world are struggling to deal with religious diversity. Therefore, it may not be incorrect to say that Hindu nationalism has an unquestionable sphere of influence over Indian politics and society, despite its evidently xenophobic emergence under the BJP. In fact, the revival of caste identities, which frequently threaten religious identities, is indirectly detrimental to secularism. The BJP has consistently attempted to adopt discriminatory policies to exploit caste-based individualities. In sum, India’s commitment to secularist republic tradition is now in doubt given the political dominance of the BJP’s trademark of Hindu nationalism.

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