Elections were held in India yesterday, and the incumbent Congress Party not only remained in power but, somewhat surprisingly, convincingly beat back a challenge by a Hindu nationalist party. The margin of victory is such that Prime Minister Singh has less need of looking to leftist parties for support and will plow ahead with his current policies.
This is nothing but good for India, so far as I can tell. A reversion to ethnic or religious nationalism would be a big step back. Singh’s secular, pro-business policies have worked very well; India is rising in every demographic and economic index imaginable.
For the rest of the world, it is a mixed but still generally good result. Singh pulled India out of the non-proliferation treaty to develop nuclear weapons, but seems to have reached something like a cold war with Pakistan, so while the presence of nukes on both sides of a border in Kashmir over which bullets and artillery shells do occasionally fly is disturbing, well, there hasn’t been any use of nukes there yet. Which is to say, Singh is sane.
But mainly, a rich, prosperous, and growing India is generally good for the rest of the world because — as a general rule with lots of exceptions — a country that is busy making money is generally going to be a force for peace and harmony rather than war and discord, because it is interested in finding good trading partners.
Congratulations to India for making a good choice.