The article, written by prominent American academic Walter Russell Mead, suggests that the BJP may also be the most poorly understood political party
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
According to an opinion piece in the highly-regarded Wall Street Journal, India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the most critical foreign political party for American national interests and the “linchpin” of the US strategy in the Indo-Pacific, given China’s escalating assertiveness in the region.
The article, written by prominent American academic Walter Russell Mead, suggests that the BJP may also be the most poorly understood political party, as it incorporates the most notable principles of three major political entities worldwide: Israel’s Likud Party, China’s Communist Party, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The opinion piece published on Monday (20) asserts that the BJP is not well understood in the West due to its roots in a political and cultural history unfamiliar to most non-Indians.
The article argues that the BJP’s electoral dominance reflects the success of a “once obscure and marginal social movement of national renewal based on efforts by generations of social thinkers and activists to chart a distinctively Hindu path to modernisation.”
The piece goes on to suggest that the BJP combines elements of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rejection of Western liberalism with the Chinese Communist Party’s ambition to lead a nation of over a billion people to become a global superpower.
The 70-year-old academic also said, “Like the Likud Party in Israel, the BJP combines a basically pro-market economic stance with populist rhetoric and traditionalist values, even as it channels the anger of those who’ve felt excluded and despised by a cosmopolitan, Western-focused cultural and political elite.”
Mead believes that Americans and Westerners need to engage more deeply with the BJP, a complex and powerful movement that is poorly understood in the West.
Mead had an intensive series of meetings with senior BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders, as well as their critics, leading him to the conclusion that the RSS has become one of the most powerful civil-society organisations in the world. He also emphasises the need for stronger ties between the US and India.
Mead writes that Americans need to engage more deeply with the complex and powerful BJP movement in India. He highlights the significance of the BJP, which currently sits at the helm of Indian politics as the country emerges as a leading economic power and an important linchpin of American strategy in the Indo-Pacific.
Mead suggests that the BJP’s continued dominance is crucial for American efforts to balance China’s rising power, and calls on Americans to strengthen ties with India both economically and politically.
(With inputs from PTI)