The Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Narendra Modi has secured his second term as India’s Prime Minister with a landslide victory in the 2019 general elections. He spearheaded the long drawn out election campaign by labelling himself as India’s watchman, while the opposition criticised him for being divisive and pushing the Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi’s win in this election has cemented his position as the central, and perhaps the most dominant, character of Indian politics in the coming years.
During Modi’s first term, his foreign policy initiatives provided a strong impetus for India’s engagement in the South Pacific region. In 2014, Modi became the first Indian PM to visit Australia in 28 years, after Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1986. This was important, as it signified India’s renewed strategic interests in the region following the lackadaisical attention displayed by the successive Manmohan Singh governments between 2004 and 2014. (Singh was supposed to visit Australia but never managed). The contrast had been stark, with seven prime ministerial visits from the Australian side to India since Bob Hawke.
Modi was also the first PM to visit the Pacific Islands in 33 years, after Indira Gandhi in 1981. He inaugurated the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Co-operation (FIPC) in Fiji after meeting various heads of the Pacific Island nations. It is expected that in his second term, Modi will carry this momentum forward by reinvigorating India’s ties with the South Pacific in the areas of security and economic cooperation.
Please click here to read the full “Modi’s second term: What it means for the South Pacific” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Insitute PhD candidate, Teesta Prakash.