The US may have to “reconsider its attitude” towards India if BJP wins power and Narendra Modi becomes prime minister, a top American expert on South Asia has said.
“Modi and his strategy, if I can summarize it…India is going to be squeaking loud and is going to be doing things, some risky, some dangerous and some positive…and I think the American policy has to reconsider its attitude towards India,” Stephen Cohen, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, at the India Project at Brookings Institution said at a panel discussion on Indian elections on Tuesday.
India under Modi, he said, is going to attract more attention and the US would have to adjust to that, strategically, politically and economically.
“I think, the big change that I see, we all thought Modi would transform India’s economy. I think, that’s true if there is a Modi government. That is going to give him (Modi) more muscle and leverage in foreign policy. And the key country is China plus Japan and South Korea. Modi has close relationship with China, Japan and South Korea and a bad relationship with the US,” Cohen told a Washington audience, which among others was addressed by Indian Ambassador to the US S Jaishankar.
“He (Modi) is going to expand this into strategic advantage for India. That is he is going to use the economic relationship with East Asia, especially China, to enhance India’s power elsewhere.
“The original Nehruvian dream to make India among the top five-six countries of the world, I think he (Modi) is going to implement that,” said Cohen who has written several books on India and is considered to be among the authoritative voices on India in the US.