tv Inside Story Al Jazeera May 12, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
edition of al jazeera america. "inside story" is coming up next. for more news and updates around the world and in the u.s. head to the website - >> the world's biggest democracy has come to the end of a month of voting. the scale of india's elections demand words that struggle to contain it's vast size. will indians and the world sues superlatives about the outcome? that's notice story. --that's "inside story":
>> hello, i'm ray suarez. even before india started it's long march to economic reform, moving citizens into a new global class india's democracy showed something important to the world. it showed the developing country could hold free and fair elections, could have robust discussions and hand over power peacefully between one faction and another again and again. there is all that, gathering and counting 550 million votes. but now that india is modernizing, deeply anchoring in an economy, what it makes and what it takes matters. in a big, big way.
how long does it take to have $1.2 billion people to have an election? about two weeks as it turns out. there are 800 million registered voters, and hundreds of parties and candidates, 272 seats are needed to make a government. exit polls are unreliable in a country this large, but all the signs point to a sweeping change for india and it's economy, the third largest in asia. if the exit polls hold the new prime minister will be narendra modi or arvind kejriwal. >> modi is the chief minister. he ihehe is a hindu nationalist.
his state has been booming compared to the rest of the country. the final phase of voting involving 40 seats wrapped up monday. one key battleground in the skate state of varanasi. arvind kejriwal. >> we want a good government. we should only vote for a person who can deliver this to us. >> india has had record growth the ladder 20 years, an income distribution programs have lifted millions out of poverty into a new middle class. it's these voters who are concerned now that india's striking gdp growth is slowing. voters want the next period to
rein in inflation. most serve o survive on $2 a da. the congress party fought to end british colonial rule. today's congress party has been plagued with allegations. modi has been dogged about his attitude towards india's minority. in 2000, as many as a thousand muslims were killed. modi was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence. the u.s. revoked his visa over it. the g.o.p. leader has denied any wrongdoing ever since and the court found there was not enough evidence to bring him to trial. watching these elections closely is pakistan. the relationship between the two
nuclear arms nations have long been strained. new delhi has not forthen the mumbai terror attacks were carried out by a radical group based in pakistan. the u.s. is watching closely, too. can the obama administration find a partner in a leader who won't be allowed in the united states? >> we view our relationship with india as one vitally important for economic, strategic reasons, and one that we look forward to continuing to grow in the future. >> india's economic future may be just the issue voters are turning out for. it's about to become home to 20% of the world's working population. election results are days away, but it's already true. more indians have cast ballots than in the last six american elections combined. >> can one of the world's
largest countries have a government that is non grata in the united states, or is context everything? does modi get to out run his past? are the things to come in india just on hold as modi kick stars the growth again. joining us for "inside story" from new york, frank wisner. in our washington studio alyssa ayres. senior fel fellow, former assist deputy secretary of state. and professor, let me start with you. when the new parliament is seated and the new prime minister sworn what long island on that person's plate? what's job number one? >> job number one will be to
revive growth. growth has plummeted in the last two years. it was running at 8% to 9%. it's not running below 5%, about 4.5. the first thing the new prime minister has to do is revive growth. and for that they'll need to take a number of different steps. >> isn't it easy to overstate the weakness in the indian economy. it's not that it has been lagging. >> no, no, in the last 20 years india has done much of its growth in the last 20 years. it's three times of what had happened in the receding 40 years. for sure, yes. there is momentum that has been achieved of 8% to 9% which is
what sway needs to d is what in. it needs to get back to 8% to 9%. >> ambassador, is there going to be difficulty ahead if narendra modi takes the job and has to work something out with the united states? is this some place where we've been before, where a recent friend and ally has to come to terms with some past? >> i believe the united states has so much at stake in its relationship with india we're prepared to a strong economy in india, in which we could build a relationship, deal with problems like the american exit from afghanistan and unsettled conditions in pakistan.
build a relationship that also works the angle with china, and build a relationship that weighs in on investment and trade. those are the priorities. therefore the prime minister will be the key authority on the indian side. we'll work with narendra modi if he is the prime minister. the votes have not been counted, but we'll be off to a good start. i'm an optimist with what can happen. >> why is it important to the united states to have a strong, stable, and increasingly prosperous india? >> i think you put your finger on it when you said strong, stable, prosperous india. start out with a strong an india, to have a democratic
government with a good relationship with the united states in a troubled part of the world gives us terrific advantages to maintain the balance of power in asia we need strong and capable friends. japan to the north, india further to the south, and mansionmanynations in the interl important to us. our trade with india has boomed over the past few years and united states is the more active of any foreign investor coming to our shores. a peaceful region is important to us. think about what is at stake in afghanistan. think about the trouble the region faces in instability in pakistan. all of these are subjects for india as they say in influence.
we need to be able to work with india to address this range of problems. >> alyssa, isn't this a new conversation for americans? it wasn't all that long ago that india was inconsequential to the united states economically and often at odds in the foreign policy arena with a capitol that was more aligned to moscow than washington from the get go. >> you hit the nail on the head. what we've seen over the course of the last 15 years has been a real change on the indian side first with the opening that president clinton led, and that opening in india has been pursued by democratic and republican administrations in this country. the bush administration doublinged down in that bed with india, further engaged several nuclear engagement to overcome what had been an historic barrier, and then you saw the
obama administration seeking to further strengthen the relationship. there has been a dramatic increase in the number of bilateral dialogue at the government-to-government level in the last several years. >> an indian-american community that has come forward, they have been heard, in which it wasn't such a big factor before. >> we now have 3 million indian-americans in the united states very active in politics, policies, professions. very active supporters of the u.s.-indian relationship. that's been a key piece of what has changed and transformed in relationship. >> we're going to take a short break. when we come back we'll talk more about the indian elections. who is narendra modi and what do you need to know about him. this is "inside story."
>> it's "inside story." i'm ray suarez. you know how american pundits sagely note how good or bad weather in texas, the midwest or northeast may affect turn out in an election? in this last day of india's election the mercury soared above 100-degrees. how long would you have waited outside to cast your ballot. part of the emil modi gave--part of the appeal that modi gave to the rest of the country, is that the case. >> there are two parts to that answer. certainly he campaigned and steered the political platform to one focused on economic growth and good governance, and that struck a nerve with indians
and young indians, i heard from a many about the prospect of jobs and opportunities and getting back on track to help deliver benefits on a personal level has been very appealing. the second part to that question, india is a complicated country. it's a federal system like ours is, so it's different to governor. will they be able to carry the platform of summit growth and economy throughout the country. >> with economics front and center in this election did hinduness take a backseat? is it less of a factor, religion, in this go around? >> it certainly is. it certainly is.
if you look at the speeches that narendra modi gave, and he gave a large number of these speeches reaching out to people at something like 6,000 locations throughout the campaign. he wants to bring electricity to bring water and housing to people. that's his platform. that's what he fought on. no question about it. >> is that gone? is bjp not a party that gamed on hinduness? >> india is so diverse, so many languages, cultures, you really can't run on religion, and mr. modi is a very astute politician. he understands that very well.
he therefore when this issue came, if it was for hindus, muslims, it's for everybody. and likewise bringing water and electricity to everybody. if i may take one more minute there is something unique for the first time in the history of india, a person who has been a chief minister of a state and has never served in the federal government is going to be the prime minister of the country. i think it's going to be an incredibly interesting and unique experiment. we'll also see to see federalism flourish under modi than it has done in the last 60 years. he has talked about giving power back to the states. so it will be an interesting experiment going forward. >> mr. ambassador, the united states has been speaking to
congress members, congress party members in indian politics almost since indians we've gotten used to india being run by the heirs of next ru, gandhi and various family members of theirs. is it going to take stretching and getting used to have bjp back if power? >> ray, first of all that's not quite a true statement. we had a very solid and important run with the bjp in government in the first decade of this century. the bjp government wa really bre the ice with the united states, and began the negotiations that led to the civil nuclear agreement. they came to our congress and
called india and the united states natural allies. i think if you look at the record of economic performance, economic reform, what's important to us as well as views about how our two countries should get together, and operate in the region and more broadly, we've got a record with the bjp. i don't think there's anything that procludes a narendra modi government. >> i think that's right. there was a very strong relationship with the bjp during it's term in 1994. i think all indications are should they continue policies of economic growth looking at investment, trade, open economy, these are all elements of the bjp's campaign this time around, that should bring a revival of
u.s.-india ties that has faced friction in the recent years, to put it mildly. >> would we be saying gu goodb. i think the united states would work with whoever is elected by the people of india. >> we're going to take a short break. when we come back we'll talk about indian-u.s. relationships. economically, politically, what's happening in the region. this is "inside story."
inflation on this edition of our program we're discussing the indian election that wrapped up today and what it means for its economy and u.s. economy, and the relationship between our two countries. still with us frank wisner ambassador to india. in our wit washington studio, aa ayres, and from new york, arvin professor of indian political economy at columbia university. mr. ambassador, if you read the foreign affairs journals, people who are in the know confidently talk about one of the reasons we need a stronger india is to be a counterweight to china. is it that much of a chess game that we need to prove that a country like india could pull itself up under the umbrella of democracy as a counter model to the top-down chinese
administration? >> you know, frankly, i don't look at it that way. and i'm quite confident the indians don't, and pursuing a relationship with india as a foil to china i think will get our country into a whole lot of trouble. i believe that the right way to think about the future of asia is with a series of balances. you got india to the south, indonesia, the philippines, thailand, and then korea and japan, all of which are part, all of which are on good terms with this country. you have an u.s.-china relationship, and a chinese relationship with its periphery. you want that balance to continue. but we have to be able to construct very strong relations with all the actors so that we can preserve that balance. i think its possible, and i think that's exactly the way the indians see it. they don't want used as a foil
for china. they don't want to use us for that purpose. they want to see balance. they want a good relationship with china. we want a good relationship with china. but to get there we need a strong relationship with us. >> you know, professor, all during the cold war under the friend of my friend, enemy of my enemy, the united states supported whoever was in power in pak pakistan for a long timed there was often a chilly relationship with india. if we go back to india now, and we look at the change in the way that the two countries see each other, what about down on the farms? what about in the markets, in the streets. do indians feel differently about the united states than they might have when the soviets were building canals and dams.
>> if you look back at some of the segues that have been done, they go and ask in different countries how people perceive the united states. indians come out on top expressing their liking for the united states. so there is huge support among the people for the united states. and you also see that because 3 million indians live here, and all the world is unified. they can see through the television, internet and other media, they're well-connected through twitter facebook and whatnot. there is a lot of good will on the part of the people, no doubt. but remember i totally agree with the ambassador, national interest is going to determine the relationships, and just as here in the united states we
work in the national interest more broadly defined and in an enlightened sort of way. the same is on the indian side. the reaction has always been those personal things that happened to them will remain national policies, so clearly they have to work in the national, and he knows that a good relationship both politically and economically is an integral part to bringing good things to india. >> alyssa ayres, is there nor confident peace in pakistan? pakistan has been a problem child in this part of the world for quite awhile. it just can't get its act together. >> it has, i think what you've
seen over the course of the last decades india has set its sights on being an actor on the global stage. it's no longer tied down to being a regional power to just southeassouth asia. but india sees itself and others see india as an actor in dealing with global problems, guardian ad litem change, climatechange,. it has to deal with some of its political problems. india has its sights for the 21st century for its people. >> good to talk to you all, thanks for joining us. that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. thanks for being with us. in washington, i'm ray suarez.
>> a group of armed vigilantes is trading machine gun fire with members of the knights templar cartel until early this year, the town of nueva italia in mexico's western state of michoacan was under the control of the cartel but after more than a decade of fear, something changed these men armed themselves, and town-by-town, they began to drive