What can the rest of South Asia expect from Modi’s second term in power?

Democracy in developing world has never been a flawless one. It’s the same even in developed countries, albeit to a much lesser degree.

But a democracy, even an electoral or a partially imperfect one, within the structure of modern political tenets, is considered to be a lesser evil than other forms of rule. Democracy with a capitalist orientation has been the dominant and ingrained political ethos since the mid-20th century.

The key problems of democracy in the developing world are multifarious. Three of the core interrelated deficiencies of democracy in the contemporary era in this category of countries have been – the quality of the electorate, a defective political culture, and a political environment defined by the weaker political institutions.

Hence, obtaining the best outcome from the exercise of this electoral democracy, in objective terms, has persistently been a challenge. Sometimes, a situation politics and public life to their scared ghettos in the cities and the countryside.

Regionally, an emboldened Modi may renew his taught stance with Pakistan. Some period of peace may ensue without any real change in Kashmir. Bangladesh will wait and what finally happens with the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the potential NRC in West Bengal.

However, too much of a strongman notion with South Asian neighbours might isolate India in the region and allow an anti-India front to emerge, perhaps under the patronage of China. A “neighbourhood first” type of initiative of regional cooperation and confidence building could be useful for India and others.

Such an endeavour will be helpful to build new India’s stature as a big responsible neighbour in the region. Regional cooperation is a two-way stream. India’s neighbours should also pay heed to the former’s genuine regional concerns.

Modi’s second mandate might encourage more defence spending in India. Relations with China are expected to remain mixed; continuation of trade and economic cooperation on one hand, geo-strategic rivalry in the Indian Ocean on the other.

Donald Trump is unlikely to give India any economic concession, although he is likely to help Modi by selling US armaments to India with a view to increasing Chinese influence in Asia.

Regionally and internationally, not much change is anticipated from the new Modi government as various limitations will tie its hands as usual. It will again be India’s domestic arena to for some changes, if at all.