‘Modi should share power with states for real success’

Hyderabad, Sep 13 :

If Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have to really succeed they will have to share power with state-level leaders and work with them, feels an American political scientist.

William J. Antholis, managing director and senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institute, an influential US think tank, believes Modi will work with the state-level leaders as he himself served as the chief minister of Gujarat.

William J. Antholis
William J. Antholis

He said the Indian prime minister also stated in his Independence Day address that he believes in empowering chief ministers.

The American political scientist feels though the Modi government enjoys majority in Lok Sabha, it will still have to work with regional parties in the upper house of the Parliament.

“We have powerful leaders in both India and China. There is paradox of their power. There is something they can do centrally but for real success to happen they have to share power with state level leaders or work them,” he said in an interaction with a select group of journalists here.

Antholis is the author of “Inside Out, India and China: Local Politics Go Global” published last year in which he explores how country-sized provinces and states in both the countries are increasingly becoming global players.

Antholis, who plans to release the book in India in a couple of weeks with a new preface, believes that state level leaders in India have started seizing responsibility that comes with elected authority where as in the past they let the bureaucracy take the power and dissipate.

The analyst, who met Modi and several state-level leaders before writing the book, said Modi was not elected because of nationalism but because of his economic message. He pointed out that some prominent Muslim Indian writers like M.J. Akbar embraced his candidacy.

“There can be a bad side of his nationalism and there can be a good side,” he said and pointed out that he has shown good side by reaching out to Pakistan and also by mooting inter-communal truce for 10 years. “Although we hope for a permanent peace treaty,” he said.

“If he goes out of way to pick up fight with Pakistan or foment inter-communal violence, people will not be happy. Americans will be enthusiastic about the initial signs he has given,” he said.

Antholis compared Modi to former US president Ronald Reagan. He said like Reagan, Modi is a nationalist and also stands for free market.

He said one should not set high expectations from Modi’s upcoming visit to US. “This is a turning point for India and in all its bilateral relations not just with US but with Japan, Australia, China, Bhutan and Pakistan…,” he said.

He believes Modi had an opportunity to lay down for President Obama the things that are important from his side of relations. He said the strengths in India-US relations which were taken for granted are the people to people connection. He stressed on working on those strengths for long-time relationship and not just for making few announcements.

On Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India, he said good trading relations were crucial for both the countries. He said China needed innovative economy which India can teach it and India needed hard Chinese investments.

He, however, said security concerns were real on border, in oceans and even in cyber side as Chinese hackers can be very disruptive. “It is important that India make clear that it is not going to be pushed around.”

“US and Japan are eager to work with India. This will be a little bit threat to China as it will feel encircled by US and Japan but for all three countries it is important to make sure that China doesn’t stumble into trouble unintentionally,” he said and pointed out that as it grows its economy China is thirsty for oil and energy.


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