Design and illustration by Akila Weerasinghe
Design and illustration by Akila Weerasinghe

Southasian eyes on the 2024 Indian election

A special series on what Narendra Modi’s decade in power has meant for Southasia, with perspectives from neighbouring countries as well as Indian territories beyond the BJP’s power base

India’s 2024 general election is of huge consequence for the country itself and for all of Southasia. Once the touchstone for democracy and secularism in the Subcontinent, and perennially a defining force in Southasian diplomacy and cooperation, India is today in democratic decline after ten years under the rule of Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party, with its bilateral relationships across the region transformed by the imperatives of Modi’s agenda.

The effects are felt acutely all over India and Southasia, yet much of the Indian and international media coverage of the 2024 election is fixated disproportionately (and often myopically) on the heartlands of the BJP’s support in northern and central India. Lost or muted in this coverage are the revealing perspectives of those on the edges looking in: national neighbours, but also Indian citizens from beyond the BJP’s power base, often facing the brunt of the Modi government’s attempts to reshape India and its place in the world.

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Himal Southasian