Balance on the Board; Gujarat, the driving force of India

Project GIFT 1

As I promised last week, I would write about one of the countries that is opposed about the possible switch of China made in Thailand. This time I will discuss India, especially Gujarat. Especially after this weeks news that U.S. ambassador in India took up in conversations with Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat. This news came after his Hindu-Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced that he would be their candidate to become prime minister of the Lok Sabha elections (or lower house of parliament). The United States saw his candidacy as a serious one and that was one of the main reasons to start up a dialogue with the future prime minister of India. 2

As said India will face new elections this year for the lower house of parliament, this election will be in important indicator for the future of the country, but what do we know about the country? India is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it’s area is ranked on the seventh place worldwide and a member of the BRICS association (Brasil, Russia, India, China & South Africa). India’s capital is New Delhi, the country has a population of 1.2 billion people and it’s GDP has seen some good growth numbers over the past years with a top of 10.5 percent growth in 2010. The Country is connected next to it’s “Partner” China, the countries are not really connected due to the fact that they are separated from each other by the biggest mountains. For now enough about India this time I will speak especially about Gujarat one of the key economic hearts of the country. 3, 4

Mahatma Ghandi
Mahatma Gandhi 5

Mahatma Gandhi
Before I continue with my elaboration why especially Gujarat is an interesting place on the chess board I first like to tell a small background to this historical figure. Mahatma Gandhi (see picture above) was born on the second of October 1869, in Porbandar which is a city in Gujarat. Mahatma Gandhi was a freedom fighter which has been compared with other Historical figures like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. He was a freedom fighter that didn’t mind the ethnicity of the person he was speaking to he was always interested in the motives of the other.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi 6

Narenda Modi
The Chief Minister of Gujarat is Narenda Modi (see picture above), who is the candidate for the elections for the Hindu-Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to become prime minister of the country. Modi is an interresting person who is mabye best described by Robert D. Kaplan who met him in person. He describes them as a new sort of hybrid politician with both an impressive and disquieting personality, he has some very good management skills and knows how to influence the public opinion, besides this he also has convinced of his ideology. 7

Modi his ideology is best described as the antagonist of Gandhi his ideology, Kaplan is also stating that he is concerned about people like Modi. Modi was part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the group was mention positive during the bifurcation of Pakistan in 1947 when the group saved a lot of Hindu’s. However the group also had close connections with Nathuram Godse (the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi). Around the same time the group has been forbidden for a certain time but around the sixties the group made an incredible come back. The group mainly started with voluntary work for the Hindu society, just like the Muslim Brotherhood operates in the Middle East. Which is an interesting comparison. Modi has devoted his life towards the RSS and has worked for the organisation during ten years before he became Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001. Since then he has done a lot of good things for Gujarat, however during the massacres in 2002 he has not helped the Muslim society and he has never said sorry for what has happened.

Two of the good things Modi has done since he started to work for the government is that he has turned Gujarat into the Financial heart of India and that he has started with Project GIFT, as he says; “which is one of his small contributions towards India. 8

The Region of Gujarat, where the famous Gandhi was born and later on also the possible new prime minister of India, Modi. The province of Gujarat has only 50 million people living in it, which is not even five percent of the country. The GDP growth of the country is has since 2002 been stable and is around 10.2 percent on a yearly base which is actually higher than the countries total annually GDP growth. Since than the region has opened eight new universities and around fifty percent of the new jobs created in India were created in Gujarat. The Region is forerunner in the national fight against poverty and production of electricity.

Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Or Project GIFT, is one of the projects from Modi to make the region a central business district. The City is planned in the center of the State, between Ahmedabad and Ganghinagar, on the bank of River Sabarmati. The City will be as Modi describes it the pièce de résistance to make Gujarat the centrum of Indian Ocean, the basis for the city has been created by Modi in 2007. Gift should offer 400.000 persons a job, it should be seen as a modern city that is ready for competition for the next decades with every other city in the world. 9

The Lok Sabha elections which will be held from 7 April until 12 May will become very interesting for the future of India. The BJP with Narendra Modi has one of the interesting candidates, which could give the country it’s needed reforms. Narendra has already made clear to the people of Gujarat, India and the World that he is a great and visioned leader that is able to change a countries opportunities in a positive way, even though he is somewhat a controversial leader. I do think that he might be one of the best things that could happen towards the people of India. Whatever happens a exciting time is coming for the people of India, but also for Asian politics.
In my next blog I will write about the international relations between China and India, so stay tuned!

  7. Robert D. Kaplan – Monsoon. The Indian Ocean and the future of America, 2011, Random House, Inc, New York, P. 128
  8. Robert D. Kaplan – Monsoon. The Indian Ocean and the future of America, 2011, Random House, Inc, New York, P.125
  9. Robert D. Kaplan – Monsoon. The Indian Ocean and the future of America, 2011, Random House, Inc, New York, P. 133-135

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