September 24th, 2014
12:06 AM ET

Modi: We want Afghanistan to be happy

Fareed speaks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation in Afghanistan, and asks for his take on the role Pakistan might play there.

When you look at what is going on in Afghanistan – the United States is going to draw down its forces. Historically, Pakistan has always played a role in Afghanistan, usually by supporting the Taliban, historically at least. Do you worry that that may happen again, that as the United States draws down, Pakistan will try to increase its involvement, and that will have negative consequences for India?

America will have learned from its experience in Iraq. I don’t believe that it will do the same thing with Afghanistan and that it will be on its own. My guess is that the United States will have a different policy in Afghanistan from what it had in Iraq.

The other issue is that we want Afghanistan to become happy, prosperous and peaceful. It should live in harmony with its neighborhood and progress. We have a special attachment with Afghanistan. From childhood, every person in India has an impression in their hearts that a person from Afghanistan is very honest, good at heart…Our connection with Afghanistan is not with reference to Pakistan. We have our own cultural heritage, with deep relations. We want to see them happy, and in this process we want everyone to be together. We invite Pakistan to come and join us all together, for the happiness of Afghanistan.

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Topics: Afghanistan • GPS Show • India • Pakistan
September 20th, 2014
07:28 PM ET

Modi: Today's era once again belongs to Asia

Fareed speaks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about comparisons between India and China. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

After your election people have begun asking again a question that has been asked many times for the last two decades, which is, will India be the next China? Will India be able to grow at 8 to 9 percent a year consistently, and transform itself and thus transform the world?

See, India doesn’t need to become anything else. India must become only India. This is a country that once upon a time was called the golden bird. We’ve fallen from where we were before. But now we have the chance to rise again. If you see the details of the last five or ten centuries, you will see that India and China have grown at similar paces. Their contributions to global GDP have risen in parallel, and fallen in parallel. Today's era once again belongs to Asia. India and China are both growing rapidly, together.

But people would still I think wonder can India achieve the kind of 8 and 9 percent growth rates that China has done consistently for 30 years, and India has only done for a short period.

It’s my absolute belief that Indians have unlimited talent. I have no doubt about our capabilities. I have a lot of faith in the entrepreneurial nature of our 1.25 billion people. There is a lot of capability. And I have a clear road map to channel it.

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Topics: China • GPS Show • India
September 19th, 2014
12:36 AM ET

Modi: Extremists 'a crisis against humanity'

Fareed speaks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about al Qaeda’s plan to launch a new branch on the Indian subcontinent. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Ayman al-Zawahiri the head of al Qaeda has issued a video and an appeal trying to create an al Qaeda in India. In South Asia, he says, but the message was really directed towards India. And he says he wants to free Muslims from the oppression they face in Gujarat, in Kashmir. Do you think, do you worry that something like this could succeed?

My understanding is that they are doing injustice towards the Muslims of our country. If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional. Indian Muslims will live for India. They will die for India. They will not want anything bad for India.

Why do you think it is that there is this remarkable phenomenon that you have a 170 million Muslims, and there seem to be almost no or very few members of Al-Qaeda, even though al Qaeda is in Afghanistan, and of course the many in Pakistan. What is it that has made this community not as susceptible?

Firstly, I’m not the authority for doing a psychological and religious analysis on this…But the question is whether or not humanity should be defended in the world? Whether or not believers in humanity should unite? This is a crisis against humanity, not a crisis against one country or one race. So we have to frame this as a fight between humanity and inhumanity. Nothing else.

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Topics: GPS Show • India
September 19th, 2014
12:14 AM ET

Modi on the Indo-U.S. relationship

Fareed speaks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about U.S. ties with India. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

There are many people in the United States, and some in India, who wish that the United States and India were much closer allies – the world’s oldest democracy, the world’s biggest democracy. But somehow that has never happened, and there have always been these frictions and difficulties. Do you think it’s possible for the United States and India to develop a genuinely strategic alliance?

I have a one word answer: Yes. And with great confidence I say yes. Let me explain. There are many similarities between India and America. If you look at the last few centuries, two things come to light. America has absorbed people from around the world…and there is an Indian in every part of the world. This characterizes both the societies. Indians and Americans have coexistence in their natural temperament.

Now, yes, for sure, there have been ups and downs in our relationship in the last century. But from the end of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century, there has been a big change. Our ties have deepened. India and the United States of America are bound together, by history and by culture. These ties will deepen further.

So far in your contacts with the Obama administration – you have had several cabinet ministers come here – do you feel that there is a genuine desire from Washington to try to upgrade the relationship with India substantially?

Relations between India and America should not be seen within the limits of just Delhi and Washington. It’s a much larger sphere. The good thing is that the mood of both Delhi and Washington is in harmony with this understanding. Both sides have played a role in this.

 

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Topics: GPS Show • India
Time is right for U.S. to boost India ties
August 8th, 2014
11:07 AM ET

Time is right for U.S. to boost India ties

By Robert M. Hathaway, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Robert M. Hathaway is director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program, in Washington, DC. The views expressed are his own.

After a rough patch in bilateral relations, India and the United States have reengaged in a big way.  The U.S. secretaries of state and commerce, John Kerry and Penny Pritzker, were in India last week, while U.S. defense secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in New Delhi on Friday. In September, India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, visits Washington.

Yet for all the diplomatic flurry, the two countries have yet to embrace a common agenda that would lay the groundwork for what President Barack Obama has called “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

Responsibility for this failure lies with both sides. Until Modi’s sweeping electoral triumph a few months ago, New Delhi had been paralyzed with indecisiveness for several years. In Washington, the Obama administration has never convincingly explained where and how India fits into America’s broader geopolitical vision. Doing so should therefore be Hagel’s top priority during his upcoming trip to India.

One of the hallmarks of Obama’s foreign policy has been the rebalance or “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific.  To create the basis for a long-term Indo-American partnership, but also for reasons having nothing to do with bilateral U.S.-India ties, the administration needs to flesh out how the world’s second most populous country fits into the rebalance. After all, it is difficult to imagine a coherent U.S. approach to Asia that does not give Asia’s largest democracy a central role.

Is India even on Washington’s Asia-Pacific map? FULL POST

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Topics: Foreign Policy • India • United States
How U.S. can reinvigorate India defense ties
June 5th, 2014
02:55 PM ET

How U.S. can reinvigorate India defense ties

By Vikram J. Singh and Joshua T. White, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Vikram J. Singh is vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress. Joshua T. White is Deputy Director for South Asia at the Stimson Center. The views expressed are their own.

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory in last month’s Indian general election has raised hopes that the country will break through the policy stagnation of the last decade and advance reforms that can jump-start India’s economy and bolster its standing on the world stage.

Modi’s declared priorities focus heavily on the economy, and the U.S. government should make economic statecraft a central pillar of engagement with India. But Washington should not lose sight of the most successful area of U.S.-India cooperation to date: the thriving defense relationship. Actions taken in New Delhi and Washington now will determine if the two nations can break through a successful but largely transactional relationship toward strategic partnership that delivers for both nations on shared security interests.

On the U.S. side, four priority areas matter most to reinvigorate U.S.-India defense ties:

First, the Obama administration should continue to put forward innovative defense trade proposals, regardless of how responsive Modi’s government appears to be in the near-term. Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that he would take “an active and very personal role” in what has come to be known as the U.S.-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), and designated the Department’s Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Frank Kendall, as the initiative’s American lead.

FULL POST

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Topics: India • Military • United States
May 16th, 2014
10:27 PM ET

India at a crossroads: How could Modi govern?

Last year, GPS broadcast ‘India at a Crossroads,’ an in-depth look at the challenges the country faces. Watch the video for the full segment on why India’s next prime minister, Narendra Modi, is widely seen as having transformed the state of Gujarat as governor.

When we think of China, we imagine an authoritarian land where things work, a place where freedom is sacrificed, but in return you get strong economic growth. When we think of India, we think of a messy democracy, of organized chaos – a place where growth is sacrificed for freedom. Now, imagine a place in India where both are true, where there is democracy, but also strong economic growth…

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd.: If you look at the growth in Gujarat, it has been better than China if you think about Gujarat as a country.

Mukesh Ambani is not only the richest man from the state of Gujarat, he's also the richest man in India.

What Gujarat has demonstrated is that over decades you can attract investment and with sensible governance, you can really improve.

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Topics: GPS Show • India
May 16th, 2014
10:11 PM ET

Time for U.S. to embrace India

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

The United States has to clear the air with the person who will be India's next prime minister, Narendra Modi. Modi has been shunned by U.S. officials for a decade. The George W. Bush administration had put him on a blacklist of sorts and denied him a visa to come to America. The visa issue is now irrelevant because as the head of government, Modi automatically gets a special visa. But the Obama administration should go further and move to strengthen ties with him. The cold shoulder should be replaced with a warm embrace.

First, a few words to explain the blacklist and why, in my view, putting Modi on it was selective, arbitrary, and excessive.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist politician, is (until he becomes prime minister) head of the government in the Indian state of Gujarat. He held that job in 2002, when fierce rioting between Hindus and Muslim broke out.In that capacity, it is alleged, he encouraged – or did nothing to stop – vigilante violence against Muslims and police complicity with this violence.

In those riots 1,000 people, almost all Muslims died. Subsequent prosecutions of those accused of killing Muslims have been minimal.It is a dark episode in India's history and Modi comes out of it tainted as the head of the state government at the time. But his own role remains unclear…

FULL POST

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Topics: Fareed's Take • GPS Show • India
May 16th, 2014
08:43 AM ET

Why U.S. needs to rethink Modi stance

By Fareed Zakaria

Barack Obama’s pivot to Asia has been widely praised. But many critics wish that he would infuse the policy with greater substance and energy. In fact, the administration has the opportunity to fill in one of the great missing pieces of that policy — a strategic relationship with the continent’s second most populous country, India — once a new government emerges in New Delhi. But both countries will have to make some major changes.

The immediate obstacle for the United States is that the man set to become India’s next prime minister, Narendra Modi, was placed on a blacklist of sorts by the George W. Bush administration, was denied a visa to enter the United States and has been shunned by U.S. officials for a decade. This ostracism should stop. This manner of singling out Modi has been selective, arbitrary and excessive.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: India
April 10th, 2014
11:13 PM ET

The tension between global norms and national interests

By Fareed Zakaria

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has unified Western democracies, at least in their robust condemnation of the action. But farther afield, one sees a variety of responses that foreshadow the great emerging tension in 21st-century international life: between global norms and national interests.

Consider the response of India, the world’s most populous democracy. New Delhi was mostly silent through the events of February and early March; it refused to support any sanctions against Russia, and its national security adviser declared that Russia had “legitimate” interests in Ukraine — all of which led Vladimir Putin to place a thank-you phone call to India’s prime minister.

India’s reaction can be explained by its deep ties with Russia.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: India • Russia • Ukraine
India's election: What's at stake?
April 7th, 2014
09:45 AM ET

India's election: What's at stake?

By Aakanksha Tangri

As Indians begin heading to the polls in the largest election in history, GPS intern Aakanksha Tangri explains what’s at stake, who the key players are, and what the election means for ties with the United States.

It will be the world’s biggest exercise in democracy. As India heads to the polls from Monday, some 814 million people will be eligible to vote in a general election that will be broken down into nine phases at over 900,000 polling stations across the country. Indeed, the final votes won’t be cast until May 12, before they are all counted on May 16.

The election pits the ruling Indian National Congress’s Rahul Gandhi against Narendra Modi, the candidate of the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. But despite the storied history of his family name, Gandhi is widely seen as the underdog against the current chief minister of Gujarat.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government, led by the Indian National Congress, swept to power in 2004 under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, who surprised many by declining to take up the post of prime minister, instead calling on respected former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh to take the helm of government. But despite putting together a comfortable majority in a second consecutive election victory in 2009, a stalling economy, numerous corruption scandals and a perceived lack of direction left many Indians craving a change this time around.

FULL POST

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Topics: Elections • India
China or America? Indians pick U.S.
April 4th, 2014
12:52 AM ET

China or America? Indians pick U.S.

By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is the director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

During the Cold War, the Indian government attempted to position itself between Moscow and Washington by claiming leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement. As Indians head to the polls over the next six weeks, their country again finds itself in a world with two preeminent powers: this time, China and the United States.

And the Indian public is fairly clear where its sympathies lie: with America. Of course, how such attitudes will influence the views of the next Indian government remains to be seen. But, for now at least, there appears to be no evidence of broad anti-Americanism on the sub-continent.

This might come as a surprise to some. After all, the favorable views of the United States came despite the fact that the Pew Research Center survey measuring sentiment was conducted in India in the immediate aftermath of the controversial December 2013 arrest and strip-search of India’s female deputy consul general in New York on charges of visa fraud. Yet by more than three-to-one (56 percent to 15 percent), Indians express a favorable rather than unfavorable view of the United States.

FULL POST

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Topics: China • India • United States
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