India’s Democratic Backsliding Hasn’t Stopped – By Michael Kugelman
…. what appears different now is the increased frequency of acts of bigotry—and the state’s role in fomenting it, particularly as some leaders within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resort to hate speech and dog whistles….
India’s democracy is under strain. The state has detained nearly 9,000 people under a colonial-era anti-terrorism law in the last five years, many of them government critics. New Delhi also seeks to increase its access to private information and its control over social media, prompting disputes with WhatsApp and Twitter. Since taking power, the BJP has implemented a Hindu-nationalist agenda accompanied by demonizing rhetoric….
Competition with Beijing has taken center stage, and Washington sees New Delhi as an essential actor to counter China’s power…. The approach may not sit well with all administration officials. “We are repeating the Obama and Trump mistake of cozying up to India and Modi without demanding Modi end his tilt toward authoritarianism,” an unnamed official told Politico on the eve of Modi’s White House visit last month….