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Modi Goes to Washington

Thought Leader: Peter Zeihan
June 22, 2023

Prime Minister Modi is stateside and prepping for his address to Congress and state dinner. While a summit with Modi may have been inevitable (as he’s the leader of the most populous country and up-and-coming power), we need to look at India’s relationship with the rest of the world to see what might come of this meeting.

Given India’s fractious decision-making system – with most decisions occurring at the state and local levels – operating as a “country” is out of the question. India is only interested in things that impact India, so relationships and allies won’t work. The Soviets established ties back in the day, but that relationship is functionally over.

India has other factors that have inhibited its ability to form strategic relationships (or contributed to its ability to remain independent). Geographic barriers have helped keep others out, but also prevent India from projecting power. India is near the Persian Gulf, so they don’t need to worry about an energy crisis. They have decent demographics and plenty of time before any problems would arise. The collapse of China will send India into an industrial boom where they will be able to manage everything in-house.

All of these factors have enabled India to become a globally significant economy without being globally wired. Now the question remains…do I see anything meaningful coming out of this meeting? No, but a conversation about the future is better than nothing.

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