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Between BBC, Boeing and Airbus, PM Modi sets terms of engagement with the West

As it happened, on the same day the Tata Group-owned Air India announced orders for 470 aircraft from American manufacturer Boeing and French manufacturer Airbus, Indian Income Tax authorities dropped by at the offices of the BBC. Just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about deepening strategic partnerships with the U.S. and France, BJP functionaries, including Union ministers, accused the BBC of running an anti-India agenda with the support of Opposition parties. Mr. Modi had French President Emmanuel Macron on a video call, and U.S. President Joe Biden on an audio call to celebrate the aircraft deal, while U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose country is also a beneficiary of the deal in which Rolls-Royce will be making the engines for Airbus aircraft, tweeted out his ebullience. All this taken together reflects the terms of engagement that Mr. Modi wants to set with the West — a “Hindutva strategic doctrine” for India’s engagement with the world.

Mr. Modi has repeatedly referred to three Ds – Democracy, Demand, and Demography – as factors that make India an attractive place for the West to engage and do business with. When Mr. Modi began talking about 3D in 2014, the U.S. was happily doing business with China. In the years that followed, U.S. relations with China nosedived, and Russia invaded Ukraine. The Biden administration now wants to frame international politics as a fundamental ideological cleft between democracy and autocracy.


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