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Amit Shah’s Challenges as Home Minister: A Closer Look

Facing an extensive array of responsibilities, Amit Shah’s foremost challenge lies in implementing the new criminal laws…reports Asian Lite News

The newly-formed Modi 3.0 government has unveiled its ministerial portfolios, ushering in a new era of governance.

With the Big 4 assuming their ministerial roles, a blend of continuity and change characterises the administration.

Amit Shah has assumed the pivotal role as the Union Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) for a second consecutive term, underscoring a commitment to continuity in addressing critical internal security matters.

Here’s an overview of the challenges awaiting Home Minister Amit Shah.

Facing an extensive array of responsibilities, Amit Shah’s foremost challenge lies in implementing the new criminal laws — Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam.

These laws are set to replace the antiquated British-era statutes such as the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

With the Centre’s notifications indicating their enforcement from July 1, Shah has less than three weeks to ensure their seamless execution.

Another significant challenge facing Amit Shah is terrorism.

As the Home Minister, he is tasked with crafting strategies to counter the persistent threat of terrorism, especially in regions like Jammu and Kashmir where it is resurfacing.

A stark reminder of this challenge emerged when terrorists targeted a bus in J&K’s Reasi district on Sunday, leading to the loss of 10 pilgrims’ lives.

Addressing the ethnic violence in Manipur is yet another pressing task for Amit Shah. The northeastern state has been embroiled in ethnic conflicts for over a year now.

MHA must also remain vigilant against the threats posed by the Khalistani outfits, particularly given the recent events such as Amritpal Singh’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections from Khadoor Sahib, despite being incarcerated.

Singh’s electoral success could pose challenges for the security agencies, as he has been accused of promoting separatist ideologies in the recent past.

Also, restoring the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be a top priority for the Home Minister.

Under his leadership, the Home Ministry must also guarantee violence-free Assembly elections in the region.

Mitigating cybercrime is another challenging task that the MHA has to deal with promptly.

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Modi 3.0 scripts a coalition geared for reform

It is reasonable to expect that far from slowing down, reforms will be speeded up, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat

By 105 seats, the NDA was short of the ambitious goal of 400 Lok Sabha seats in 2024 that the BJP had set for itself. While 295 seats fall well short of that mark, the NDA has a comfortable majority, in which the BJP itself has around three-fourths of the seats. While the I.N.D.I Alliance had in the polls come within striking distance of power, it remains a collection of political parties, several of which are bitterly in opposition at the state level.

The Congress Party has won almost double the Lok Sabha seats the party won in 2019. It breached the three-figure mark once an independent MP joined it. Given the mathematics, it is more likely that the Opposition alliance will shrink in numbers over the coming period than the ruling NDA, which has the advantage of having as its leader Narendra Modi, who has unanimously secured the support of every MP in the NDA for a third term in office as Prime Minister.

This is a feat achieved in the past only by Mahatma Gandhi’s choice as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. The foundation for what may be described as India 1.0 was set in place by Prime Minister Nehru. Since taking office in 2014, Prime Minister Modi has transformed India on a scale sufficient to lay the foundation for India 2.0.

In other words, a country geared towards the 21st century and its unique challenges and opportunities. After Nehru, not even Indira Gandhi was able to secure three consecutive terms in office, and except for Vajpayee, who was sworn in twice, no Prime Minister has had more than a single term.

Once sworn in as Prime Minister for the third time, Modi will go beyond the Vajpayee two-term record and enter a pantheon occupied until now only by Nehru. Whether India will have a Prime Minister who has won four terms will be answered in 2019, when the next Lok Sabha polls is due. There is a lot of chatter as to how long the present government will last.

Some say three years, others less. In reality, the odds are that Modi 3.0 will continue uninterruptedly until the 2029 Lok Sabha polls fall due. Given the unpredictability and complexity of a national parliamentary poll in India, none of the members of the NDA would want anything other than to complete their full term and thereafter face the people with a basket of achievements that they have delivered from 2024 to 2029.

Given the results, many believe that both the AIADMK as well as the (Uddhav) Shiv Sena ought to have remained within the NDA rather than leave for a multiplicity of reasons. Both are better fits in the NDA rather than in the UPA, which is headed by the Congress Party. In turn, the party is itself in effect headed by Rahul Gandhi, now that his mother has exchanged her Lok Sabha seat for the Rajya Sabha, and AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge has made it clear that he welcomes the leadership of Rahul, who seems set to become the first formal Leader of the Opposition (LoP) since the 2014 polls.

Given the fact that the Congress Party has far more seats than any of its alliance partners, it has justification in claiming the position of LoP in what is likely to be a very combative Lok Sabha.

Apart from forecasting that the newly constituted Union Government will leave office before its full term of five years, several doomsayers who have been vociferous since June 4 have claimed that the reformist thrust of the Modi government will get diluted. In fact, it is likely to be accelerated. Only reforms can ensure that Modi 3.0 wins over enough voters to ensure another term in office.

The BJP, TDP and JDU will want to ensure that each gets a significantly larger number of seats in 2029 than they won in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls. Among the alliance partners, the TDP under Chandrababu Naidu devoted several years to fashion an ambitious agenda for governance, should the people of Andhra Pradesh give Chandrababu Naidu another term as Chief Minister.

The incoming AP CM is determined to chisel in stone his already impressive credentials as a reformer. It was CM Naidu who transformed Hyderabad into Cyberabad, a gift that the BRS in the past and the Congress subsequently are getting the benefit of, in terms of higher taxes, exactly the way Bengaluru so substantially adds to the Karnataka revenue stream and Mumbai to Maharashtra.

Determined to oppose any project championed by his nemesis, outgoing Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy abandoned his predecessor’s plan to build a state capital that the people of Andhra Pradesh can be proud of, Amravati. Now that Naidu is back, that ambitious project will once again be restarted, and this time completed. Revanth Reddy, the affable, accessible Chief Minister of Telangana, had better watch out.

As Andhra Pradesh CM, Chandrababu Naidu is likely to attract investment on an even larger scale than he succeeded in doing with Hyderabad, now the capital of Telangana. Not just Hyderabad but other state capitals in the South such as Chennai and Bengaluru will feel the effects of the revamp plan for Andhra Pradesh that Naidu has been working on for several years. In Bihar, the JDU needs to to accept the fact that the 21st century needs a Naya Soch, and that antiquated ideas that belong to the 20th century or even earlier are not what the youth of Bihar in particular seek.

Across the world, people from Bihar are among the most successful expatriates in the countries they have settled in. During 2024-29, the JDU needs to learn from the success of Biharis outside Bihar and make sure that in Bihar too, talented daughters and sons of the state can shine in the way they do elsewhere, especially abroad.

In AP, Bihar and in every other state, reforms geared towards success in the 21st century are essential, and in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they have a Head of Government who favours such reforms. A government is there to serve the people and it is not the people who should serve the government. Such a vision is what has been indicated by the new name chosen by Modi of the road where the Prime Minister officially resides, Lok Kalyan Marg.

Judging by the quality of the reformists within the NDA, it is reasonable to expect that far from slowing down, reforms will be speeded up. A devolution of authority to lower levels and simplified regulatory systems that is favoured by the Prime Minister will accelerate in the coming years, creating a situation where the entire country gains from India’s climb to being the third largest economy by the time the next Lok Sabha elections take place.

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Modi to be sworn in as PM

Modi is the only leader after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who has been elected for a third consecutive term after completing the full tenure of each pT

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under the leadership of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi will form the government at the Centre for the third consecutive term on Sunday.

Narendra Modi is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister for the third consecutive term today on June 9. Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi will take the oath at 7:15 PM.

This is an extraordinary event as Narendra Modi is the only leader after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who has been elected for a third consecutive term after completing the full tenure of each previous term.

Alongside Narendra Modi, members of his council of ministers will also take their oath on the same day.

Meanwhile, posters featuring PM-designate Narendra Modi have been put up in Delhi ahead of his swearing-in ceremony.

Around 1,100 traffic police personnel of the Delhi Police have been deployed and an advisory has been issued to the public for the traffic movement and route arrangements have been made for the delegates as part of the arrangements for Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony on Sunday.

Several leaders and State heads of neighbourhood region and Indian Ocean region have been invited for PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony as distinguished guests, a testament to India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

Long guest list

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in an official statement on Saturday said, “President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe; President of Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu; Vice-President of Seychelles, Ahmed Afif; Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina; Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth; Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’; and Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, have accepted the invitation to attend.”Apart from the leaders and state heads, more than 250 workers who were involved in the construction of the Parliament will also come to BJP leader Mansukh Mandaviya’s residence at 3 pm and go to the President’s house to participate in the oath-taking ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, highlighting the significance of the event, the MEA emphasised, “The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his third consecutive term is in keeping with the highest priority accorded by India to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and ‘SAGAR’ vision.”Additionally, the MEA mentioned that besides participating in the swearing-in ceremony, the leaders will also grace a banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan, later in the same evening.

PM Modi’s invitation to neighbouring leaders reflects India’s ongoing efforts to engage with countries in the region. In 2014, he convened leaders from SAARC nations, and in 2019, he invited countries from the BIMSTEC group.

No invite for Opposition

Meanwhile, Congress leader KC Venugopal said that the opposition leaders have not received any information from the government regarding the swearing-in ceremony of PM-designate Narendra Modi.

The BJP got 240 seats and NDA has secured 292 seats out of 543 Lok Sabha seats.

Congress fought the election as part of the INDIA bloc and the parties together were able to prevent BJP from getting a majority on its own in Lok Sabha.

The Congress secured 99 seats. Samajwadi Party got 37 seats, while Trinamool Congress got 29. DMK managed to win 22 seats.

Traffic advisory issued

In view of Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, the Delhi Traffic Police issued an advisory regarding the diversion and restrictions on surrounding roads of Rashtrapati Bhawan. 

According to traffic police, on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sansad Marg (between Transport Bhawan and T-point Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg), North Avenue Road, South Avenue Road, Kushak Road, Rajaji Marg, Krishna Menon Marg, Talkatora Road and Pt. Pant Marg will be closed and only pedestrian movement will be allowed.

“No vehicle will be allowed to halt or park anywhere on Imtiaz Khan Marg, Rakab Ganj Road, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Pandit Pant Marg and Talkatora Road,” said the advisory.

The traffic cops further said that vehicles found parked on the above roads shall be towed away and prosecuted for improper parking and disobedience of lawful instructions.

Towed vehicles would be parked in the Traffic Pit at Pandit Pant Marg towards Gole Dak Khana.

The traffic will be diverted from Patel Chowk, Roundabout Patel Chowk, Rail Bhawan, Roundabout Gurudwara Rakab Ganj, Gole Dakkhana, Roundabout RML and Roundabout GPO. “People who are going towards ISBT/Railway Stations/Airports are advised to carefully plan their travel with sufficient time at hand,” the advisory added.

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Regional Leaders To Join Modi’s Swearing-In

These leaders include heads of State of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Nepal and Bhutan.

Aligning with India’s steadfast commitment to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the ‘SAGAR’ vision, leaders from the neighbourhood and Indian Ocean region have been invited as distinguished guests for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

These leaders include heads of State of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Nepal and Bhutan.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in an official statement on Saturday said, “President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe; President of Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu; Vice-President of Seychelles, Ahmed Afif; Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina; Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth; Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’; and Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, have accepted the invitation to attend.”

The swearing-in ceremony of PM Modi and the Council of Ministers, following the General Elections 2024, is slated for June 9, 2024.

Highlighting the significance of the event, the MEA emphasised, “The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his third consecutive term is in keeping with the highest priority accorded by India to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and ‘SAGAR’ vision.”

Additionally, the MEA mentioned that besides participating in the swearing-in ceremony, the leaders will also grace a Banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan, later in the same evening.

A delegation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by J. P. Nadda, President, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called on the President of India, Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi on June 07, 2024.

A source familiar with the matter told ANI that because of the ensuing G7 meeting in Italy, the guest list has been kept compact as PM Modi will also leave to attend the summit in Italy later in the week.

The seating arrangement has been done for over 8,000 guests who will be attending the ceremony. The list has been prepared and invitation cards have been sent. The guest list includes labourers, lawyers, doctors, artists, cultural performers, and influencers.

There were speculations that the oath ceremony might be held at Kartavya Path but because of ongoing weather conditions, it was confined to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

PM Modi’s invitation to neighbouring leaders reflects India’s ongoing efforts to engage with countries in the region. In 2014, he convened leaders from SAARC nations, and in 2019, he invited countries from the BIMSTEC group.

PM Modi is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister for the third consecutive term on June 9, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Friday. Alongside him, members of his council of ministers will also take their oaths on the same day.

Before this announcement, PM Modi met with President Droupadi Murmu and staked his claim to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under his leadership.

“Exercising powers vested in her under Article 75 (1) of the Constitution of India, President Droupadi Murmu today appointed @narendramodi to the office of Prime Minister of India,” the President’s office posted on X.

“The President requested Shri Narendra Modi to: i) advise her about the names of other persons to be appointed members of the Union Council of Ministers; and ii) indicate the date and time of the swearing-in-ceremony to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan added.

PM Modi’s leadership of the NDA was formally endorsed, with crucial support from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Janata Dal (United).

The NDA commands a strong position in the Lok Sabha with 293 MPs out of 543. Among these, the BJP holds the largest share with 240 seats. In the 2019 elections, the BJP secured a total of 303 seats. (ANI)

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Modi 3.0 and India’s positioning in the world

Ahead of Modi 3.0 assuming charge, various speculations are heating up the debate pertaining to India’s role in World politics, writes Rahul Tiwari

When Exit Polls for 2024 Lok Sabha elections were released, many expressed disagreements over the calculations made by Indian media houses. The NDA joyfully lauded the exit polls while the Congress did a flip-flop on TV debates, exhibiting its lack of confidence in the INDIA bloc. 

The fear of losing elections even saw inciteful statements from leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, who said ‘Karo ya Maro’ regarding the Lok Sabha Election results during a press briefing.

However, all that ceased to end on Tuesday when the NDA finally defeated the INDIA bloc and is now ready to form next government.

The slogan of ‘400 par’ is gone as NDA has ended up close to 300. Several factors like low turn-out, Muslim consolidation, in-fights, selection of candidates, etc seem to have thwarted BJP’s dream of ‘400 paar’. Also, many reports highlighted about the ‘intervention of foreign powers’ in the Lok Sabha elections.

Nonetheless, ahead of Modi 3.0 assuming charge, various speculations are heating up the debate pertaining to India’s role in World politics.

* Two Major Conflicts: The Russia-Ukraine War and the Israel-Hamas War

As the two major ongoing conflicts, that is, the Russia-Ukraine War and the Israel-Hamas War, are taking place, India’s stand and its role are being looked at. It has been quite evident that India maintained a balancing attitude simultaneously in dealing with Russia and the United States by not voting against it neither in the UNSC nor in the UNGA. Rather, it increased the Oil purchase from Russia, evading all sorts of pressure from the West by putting emphasis on its energy demands, which can also be reflected in the statement made by India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. Modi government has reaffirmed, meanwhile, that it supports a ceasefire and the dispersal of hostilities between the two countries.

The Israel-Hamas conflict that started on Oct 7, 2023, after the unprovoked attack by Hamas Militia, also frowned the eyes of world leaders and various stakeholders as to what stand India would take. India criticized the attack launched by Hamas, but at the same, it pitched for a ceasefire and peace concerning the conflict between the two.

* India’s positioning in the Global South and the United Nations

The consecutive third term of the Narendra Modi government would not only strengthen India’s positioning in the Global South but also cater to India’s interest in the World forums like the United Nations. India has long been demanding a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, which was also mentioned in BJP’s manifesto. “We are committed to seeking permanent membership in the UN Security Council to elevate Bharat’s position in global decision-making,” the manifesto read. Had the government not repeated this, the stand might have been different, which is not the case.

India’s initiative, the International Solar Alliance, exhibits the sustainable worldview that the Narendra Modi government has maintained on the world forums. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi originally suggested this idea in a speech at Wembley Stadium (London) in November 2015, when he referred to sunshine countries as Suryaputra (“Sons of the Sun”).

Subsequently, the CCP-led China, which is becoming a challenge to democratic governments, and the Global South would also be contained by India’s rising power under the NDA government. The NDA government is expected to focus more on Multilateral Alliances like QUAD to challenge the CCP’s expansionism. Moreover, being a rising power in the Global South, India’s no-tolerance stand on terrorism will certainly show the path to the world as to how to deal with the menace and emerge as the leader of the undisputed Global South.

* India’s Digital Infrastructure: A role model for the world

The ambitious plan of the Narendra Modi government created a world-class digital infrastructure in India that certainly paved the way for the world to reduce dependency on cash and other sorts of bureaucratic hurdles. Several heads of various countries were found using digital payments in India at the local vendors. Moreover, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world was struggling with social distancing, India’s digital infrastructure proved to be the best in the world, which shifted its operations from paper to paperless. Such an infrastructure was applauded earlier by global institutions and world leaders, which provides confidence in the government for more such initiatives.

In the longer run, the Narendra Modi government is expected to perform better both domestically and internationally. The world is becoming one entity due to interdependence and interconnectedness in this era of globalization and digitalization. This entity can also be termed as a family, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recognized by saying, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ at several global forums. That is why, any activity of one country affects all, as what we have seen in the two major conflicts. In a similar way, the world community at large, as well as India’s neighbours, would be impacted by Narendra Modi’s leadership.

(The writer is the author of a book titled – The Puritan Movement: US Universities and their anti-Bharat Approach. Views are personal)

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UAE leaders congratulate Modi

Hailing a deeply rooted strategic partnership between UAE and India, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed said he is looking forward to continued collaboration aimed at advancing the shared development goals….reports Asian Lite News

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a cable of congratulations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his re-election for a third term.

“I extend my sincere congratulations to my friend Narendra Modi on his re-election as Prime Minister and wish him success in leading India to further progress and growth,” he wrote on social media.

Hailing a deeply rooted strategic partnership between UAE and India, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed said: “I am looking forward to our continued collaboration aimed at advancing the shared development goals of our nations and our peoples.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, sent two similar messages to the Indian Prime Minister.

Congratulating Modi on a “historic” third term, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed said: “We trust that India, under his leadership, will maintain its economic progress and continue to build on his remarkable achievements of the past decade.”

“We look forward to further strengthening our bilateral relations across all areas of cooperation for mutual benefit and prosperity,” he added.

Meanwhile, UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan also congratulated Prime Minister Modi on the victory.

“I heartily congratulate my friend Narendra Modi on his re-election as Prime Minister. I wish him success in leading India on further progress and development. Our two countries have a deep strategic partnership. I look forward to continued cooperation aimed at advancing the shared development goals of our countries and our people,” Sheikh Abdullah posted.

PM Modi is likely to take oath on June 8 after the BJP-led NDA narrowly surpassed the majority mark, winning 293 seats in the 18th Lok Sabha elections, while the opposition INDIA bloc secured 234 seats.

The counting of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections was held on Tuesday. According to the Election Commission of India, the BJP won 240 seats, much lower than its 2019 tally of 303.

The main opposition Congress, on the other hand, registered a strong growth, winning 99 seats against 52 in 2019.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal have confirmed they will be attending the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said on Thursday.

Both Hasina and her Nepal counterpart Dahal had previously extended their greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the performance of the NDA at the 18th Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is scheduled to visit India to engage with the new government in New Delhi as Narendra Modi is set to take oath as the Prime Minister for a record third consecutive term, the White House said.

Sullivan’s visit was discussed when US President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday to congratulate him on his re-election.

“President Joseph Biden Jr spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to congratulate him and the National Democratic Alliance on their historic victory in India’s general election,” the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders stressed their commitment to strengthening the US-India Comprehensive and Global Strategic Partnership and to advancing their common vision of a free, open and prosperous India-Pacific region, the White House added.

President Biden praised the “friendship” between the US and India on X. This was followed by similar congratulatory messages by other senior members of his Biden administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Meanwhile, the decks are now cleared for the BJP-led NDA to form the government following a meeting of the alliance members held here on Wednesday.

All pre-poll allies including TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with other leaders of the alliance participated in discussions to finalise the modalities for the NDA government’s formation for the third consecutive term.

BJP president J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and leaders of other parties of the NDA were also present at the meeting.

The NDA has unanimously adopted a resolution electing Narendra Modi as the alliance’s leader.

The resolution highlights “the impactful development witnessed by 1.4 billion Indian citizens across the nation through the NDA government’s public welfare schemes under PM Modi’s leadership over the past decade”.

It acknowledges “the nation’s choice of robust leadership for the third consecutive term”.

The resolution “proudly emphasises the unity showcased by the NDA during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections under PM Modi’s guidance, resulting in a victorious outcome”.

It declares “the unanimous election of Narendra Modi as the leader, affirming the commitment of the NDA government, under his leadership, to serve the underprivileged segments of society, including the poor, women, youth, farmers and marginalised communities”.

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‘Foreign policy under Modi 3.0 crucial for entire region’

Foreign policy experts and academics have viewed the re-election of Prime Minister Modi’s government is proof of strong India which is an advantage for Asia and South Asia….reports Asian Lite News

As India has completed its elections and results are out, foreign policy experts and academics have viewed the results as proof of India’s strong democracy while the re-election of Prime Minister Modi’s government is proof of strong India which is an advantage for Asia and South Asia. 

 Former diplomat and media and political analyst in Asia, Ranga Kalansooriya viewed India’s general election results as a sign of vibrant democracy.

“This is a sign of a healthy democracy because you need checks and balances in a healthy democracy. India will have a strong opposition as well,” Kalansooriya told IANS.

He said that in the regional context a strong India, or politically strong India is an advantage because the region is looking at India as a regional power and regional leader.

“India is rising up as a leader of the global south. So strong India is an advantage for Asia and South Asia,” said Kalansooriya, who was also the former Director General of the Department of Government Information in Sri Lanka.

He added that as Sri Lankans and also citizens of South Asia people should be happy about India’s successful completion of elections and also on the victory of the BJP. 

“Congress has also done quite well, more than expected,” he said.

Sri Lankan academic, geopolitics and foreign policy analyst Prof. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera said that in the backdrop where China has reached, the foreign policy of Prime Minister Modi’s third term would be crucial not only for India but for the entire region.

“Foreign policy of Modi 3.0 will be crucial for the entire region of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Beijing has made concerted moves in India’s immediate periphery in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan,” Abeyagoonasekera, Executive Director of South Asia Foresight Network (SAFN), The Millennium Project Washington DC explained.

Abeyagoonasekera said that the hybrid operations with civil and military nexus are already visible in both South and Southeast Asia regions.

“Submarine bases in Bangladesh such as the BNS Sheikh Hasina submarine base at Pekua in Cox’s Bazar and in Cambodia Ream Port to Chinese research vessels in Sri Lanka and Maldives are clear military manoeuvres by Beijing,” he warned.

He said that PM Modi’s third term will be much more challenging than his previous tenures due to China’s ambitions and aggression in the region.

“A delicate balance is required in India’s foreign policy, working with US Indo-Pacific strategy and also using India’s ‘strategic autonomy’ to work with other nations such as Iran and Russia,” said Prof. Abeygoonasekara, who was also the former founding Director General of the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka (INSSSL).

An academic, defence analyst and researcher Nilanthan Niruthan that PM Modi’s coming to power for the third time, the trajectory of the India-Sri Lanka friendship, of the India-China rivalry and of India’s engagement with the world in general is likely to continue in the same path.

Nilanthan Niruthan said that in terms of the impact PM Modi will have on India’s engagement with the world, with the region or Sri Lanka, there is unlikely to be a significant shift in this third term.

“We should remember that foreign policy is something that has a certain level of party consensus in India at the moment. So regardless of who the Prime Minister is many of the long-term plans that India has for the region regarding China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, this is not likely to change much,” he said.

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‘Modi 3.0 to Maintain Policies Amid Hurdles’

This victory indicates continuity in policy, particularly in infrastructure spending and boosting domestic manufacturing…reports Asian Lite News

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured a majority in the general elections, securing a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This victory indicates continuity in policy, particularly in infrastructure spending and boosting domestic manufacturing, which are expected to support robust economic growth.

However, the NDA’s slim margin of victory and the BJP’s loss of an outright majority in parliament may slow down more extensive economic and fiscal reforms, potentially impeding fiscal consolidation efforts.

In fiscal 2023-24, India’s real GDP accelerated to 8.2 per cent from 7.0 per cent the previous year, driven by significant gains in gross fixed capital formation as the government’s infrastructure programs gained momentum, even as private consumption remained subdued.

Moody’s projects India’s economic strength to continue, with an anticipated real GDP growth of around 7 per cent over the three-year period from fiscal 2023-24 to 2025-26. This growth is expected to benefit from ongoing infrastructure development and digitalization efforts.

Despite this outlook, structural weaknesses pose risks to long-term growth potential. High youth unemployment and low productivity growth in the agriculture sector constrain economic expansion.

The agricultural sector’s modernization has been stalled by political challenges, as evidenced by the repeal of key reforms in 2021 following widespread farmer protests.

Additionally, gains in manufacturing have been uneven, limiting labour force diversification away from agriculture, which still accounts for 40 per cent of total employment.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have declined over the past three years, despite a favourable geopolitical climate amid US-China tensions.

This trend suggests persistent constraints within India’s investment climate. To address these challenges, further structural reforms and enhanced implementation of existing initiatives, such as the production-linked incentive schemes to promote manufacturing, calibrated liberalisation of cross-border trade, and reconsideration of labour reforms, are necessary.

Moody’s.

The government’s focus on fiscal consolidation is expected to continue, but significant improvements in debt ratios and interest servicing have yet to be realised.

Since the trough in fiscal 2020-21, the central government’s deficit has likely narrowed for three consecutive years.

The interim budget for fiscal 2024-25 projects a deficit of around 5 per cent of GDP, aiming for a 4.5 per cent deficit by fiscal 2025-26. However, India’s fiscal consolidation post-pandemic has not outpaced other emerging markets in Asia-Pacific, and its fiscal and debt metrics remain weaker than those of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and other Baa-rated peers globally.

India’s general government debt is projected to stabilise above 80 per cent of GDP over the next three years, compared to 70.5 per cent in fiscal 2018-19.

General government interest payments are forecast to fall to around 24 per cent of general government revenue over the next two years, down from over 28 per cent in fiscal 2020-21, but still higher than the pre-pandemic ratio of less than 23 per cent.

While increased budgetary allocations for infrastructure indicate an improvement in spending quality, debt servicing remains a significant portion of expenditure, reflecting ongoing constraints on fiscal flexibility.

This situation underscores the need for the incoming government to balance fiscal consolidation with growth-supportive measures.

The upcoming final budget for the fiscal year ending March 2025 will provide further insights into India’s fiscal policy direction through 2029.

As the Modi administration embarks on its third term, the focus will likely remain on sustaining economic growth while addressing the persistent fiscal challenges that hinder India’s long-term economic potential. (ANI)

Rate Cut Unlikely

 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is unlikely to reduce the benchmark interest rate in its monetary policy review meeting. The meeting, chaired by Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das, is underway in Mumbai.

The decision of the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) will be announced on June 7 (Friday). This meeting is taking place soon after a weaker but clear mandate is given by the electorate for the NDA government, led by the BJP.

The central bank last hiked the repo rate to 6.5 per cent, in February 2023 and since then it has held the rate at the same level in the previous seven bi-monthly policies. If RBI decides to keep interest rates untouched again on June 7, it would be the eighth time for the central bank to maintain the status quo on the benchmark repo rate.

RBI has to decide on interest rates amidst challenges of inflation, especially food inflation. Experts say RBI is unlikely to cut the rate, considering the current growth momentum which is revised upwards by most rating agencies.

If the interest rate remains untouched again on June 7, it would be the eighth time for the RBI to maintain the status quo on the benchmark repo rate.

“It is widely expected that the MPC will hold the policy rate in the eighth consecutive meeting. The inflation rate, particularly the food inflation continues to be much higher than the target rate of 4 per cent” said M. Govinda Rao, Member, of the Fourteenth Finance Commission and former Director, of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

The food inflation is continuously posing a challenge, in April the consumer food price inflation surged to 8.70 per cent from 8.52 per cent in March, according to data from the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation.

As per the data the food inflation rose by 1.03 per cent in urban areas and 0.59 per cent in rural areas, with combined food inflation in India increasing by 0.74 per cent.

However, experts also point out that the prospect of an above-normal monsoon and favourable agricultural production in the coming months is expected to contribute to a reduction in food inflation. This optimistic outlook could potentially alleviate inflationary pressures and provide relief to consumers grappling with high food prices. (ANI)

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Macron Applauds Modi, Praises Partnership

Macron stated that together, India and France will continue to strengthen the strategic partnership that unites them….reports Asian Lite News

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday congratulated “dear friend” Narendra Modi as the BJP-led NDA prepares to form a government for the third consecutive time in India.

“India has concluded the world’s largest elections! Congratulations Narendra Modi, my dear friend. Together we will continue strengthening the strategic partnership that unites India and France,” Macron posted on X.

Over the past few years, the relationship between the two countries has expanded to several new areas under the leadership of both leaders — from the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets to developing helicopter engines together.

Last year, Prime Minister Modi attended the annual Bastille Day Parade in Paris as a ‘Guest of Honour’ on the French President’s invitation as both nations marked the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership.

France also conferred PM Modi with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, the country’s highest award.

The Indo-French ties received a major boost earlier this year as Macron was the chief guest for the 75th Republic Day celebrations during his two-day state visit in January.

The French President also visited India during the G-20 Summit in September last year.

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Lanka Applauds Modi, Backs India’s UNSC Bid

Premadasa emphasised that India, with its status as the world’s most populous country and a significant global economic and military power, deserves this recognition..reports Asian Lite News

Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP-led NDA’s “historic” achievement of securing three consecutive victories in the Lok Sabha elections, Sri Lanka’s Opposition leader, Sajith Premadasa on Wednesday reaffirmed support for India’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Making a special speech in the Lankan Parliament, Premadasa emphasised that India, with its status as the world’s most populous country and a significant global economic and military power, deserves this recognition.

“This is of utmost importance as India has the largest population in the whole world. Also, when you examine the world’s economic, security power configuration, I feel that this representation of India in the UNSC must be achieved and must be promoted,” said Premadasa.

“We as parliamentarians, all 225, in this august assembly would like to propose that India be made a permanent member of the UN Security Council. I think it is long overdue and it should be implemented as quickly as possible,” the Opposition leader said, expressing his confidence that the current permanent members of the UNSC would acknowledge India’s rightful place in the global power structure.

“I am pretty sure that the five members who are there right now would have no objection to establishing this world power reality in the UN structure,” he stated.

Premadasa also acknowledged the strong bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and India and expressed gratitude for India’s significant financial support including grants, loans, and other financial aid totaling approximately six billion USD.

“We have seen the brotherly neighborhood relationship between the two countries as India is the largest single donor to Sri Lanka with around $6 billion in grants, loans and financial support. We appreciate the support that India has provided to us when Sri Lanka has been suffering from a variety of challenges including economic bankruptcy,” said Premadasa.

Hailing his visionary leadership, practical policies, and effective governance, the Lankan leader highlighted that Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to accomplish the feat of leading the country for the third time.

“Prime Minister Modi has been a remarkable person who commenced his work from humble beginnings. He came from a small family and didn’t have a huge family background. He did not have a power base to commence work. But during his stint as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and later as the Indian PM, he has exhibited stupendous energy, charisma, hard work and the singular determination to make India number one in the world. This is at a time when most of the countries in the region are going through sluggish economic growth,” said Premadasa while praising PM Modi’s achievement.

“We see India as a unique country that also extricated itself from the Covid-19 catastrophe. India has been a shining example of how you get out of desperate situations, despair and economic catastrophe and how you transform and translate a bad situation into a better one. I would like to congratulate honourable PM Modi on his remarkable achievement in almost all states. Of course, there have been states where he has done very well and there are certain states where the BJP-NDA is yet to make its imprint,” he said in his speech.

The Lankan Opposition leader also reiterated his commitment to maintain cooperation between the two nations to ensure mutual prosperity and benefits.

“We would like to continuously have a very close relationship with India, our great and brotherly neighbour. We would like to have a strong productive and constructive relationship with them,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe also congratulated PM Modi on NDA’s victory and re-election for the third term.

“I extend my warmest felicitations to the BJP-led NDA on its victory, demonstrating the confidence of the Indian people in the progress and prosperity under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. As the closest neighbour, Sri Lanka looks forward to further strengthening the partnership with India,” President Wickremesinghe posted on X.

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