Friday 7 June 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Friday. 7/6/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Image: Getty Images

Politics / Debasish Roy Chowdhury

Narendra Modi will need to govern more cautiously to keep his coalition together

After a decade of one-party domination, India appears to be returning to a new phase of coalition rule. Narendra Modi, who will serve a historic third term as prime minister, is no lame duck. But his sheen of invincibility is gone and, with it, his appeal to Western investors.

During his past two terms, Modi has created an illusion of national prosperity through the country’s tightly controlled media system, where data is managed in keeping with the state narrative. But the vote shows how different the lived reality is for Indians. Household savings are at a 47-year low, while levels of household debt are at a record high. To top it all off, investment and consumption are failing to take off. Modi rose to power in 2014 on the promise of fixing these problems but has only managed to distract from his poor performance thus far by polarising people along religious lines. Voters sent a clear message that they are tired of his rhetoric and want tangible results.

Widespread joblessness – almost a third of graduates are unemployed – and inflation have dented Modi’s image, costing his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the majority that it enjoyed in the lower house. The BJP will now have to seek support from other parties and prioritise equitable economic growth. If done right, this could make India more attractive to global investors and help decrease the risk of coalition-induced instability.

The election result indicates that Modi’s polarising tactics are not working – and that it’s time for a policy overhaul to address the country’s bread-and-butter issues. Modi will have to find a balance between catering to the demands of his new partners and his own policy priorities. He has lost the power of authority just when he needs it the most.

Debasish Roy Chowdhury is a journalist and co-author of ‘To Kill a Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism’. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Warsaw’s Marywilska 44 shopping centre burns during a fire

Image: Reuters

Affairs / Poland

European elections threatened by Russian interference

Fears are mounting over possible foreign interference in the ongoing European parliamentary elections. Poland, which is in the middle of a hybrid conflict with the Kremlin, is believed to be one of the worst-affected countries. In recent weeks, Warsaw has reported a series of sabotage attempts perpetrated by Russian-influenced agents. One Polish national and two Belarusians, who are all suspected to work for Russian intelligence agency GRU, have been arrested on charges of attempted arson.

In April, former Polish administrative court judge Tomasz Szmydt defected to Belarus. Szmydt, who Poland has accused of espionage, has now become a permanent feature of pro-Russian propaganda. In response, Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, has established a parliamentary special committee to investigate Moscow’s influence in the country’s politics. But independent of its findings, which could take months to compile, one thing is clear: Moscow appears determined to destabilise Europe, no matter the cost.

Olympics / Egypt

Egypt targets Paris success ahead of 2036 Olympic bid

Egypt is sharpening its bid to become the first African nation to host the Olympics. With its eye on the 2036 Games, the country announced its biggest-ever delegation of athletes for this year’s jamboree in Paris. It is hoping to secure a record medal haul to boost its hosting aspirations and has increased its domestic investment in stadiums, roads and sports facilities. In the Egypt International Olympic City to the east of Cairo, there are plans to build a 93,900-capacity stadium, as well as 21 other sports arenas. “The thinking about how to host events has changed a lot,” Kamilla Swart-Arries, associate professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Science and Engineering, tells The Briefing. “Cities are now planning for their citizens in advance rather than retroactively fitting the Games into the urban space.”

For more on Egypt’s Olympic aspirations, tune in to Thursday’s edition of ‘The Briefing’ on Monocle Radio.

Image: Getty Images

Trade / Japan & Taiwan

Taiwan’s eight-year export talks with Japan bear fruit

Taiwan is expanding its fresh-produce export market. After eight years, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture has successfully persuaded Japan to import its domestically grown red dragon fruit. Previously, the country could only export the less popular white variety. The agreement is subject to certain conditions, including rigorous checks for fruit flies.

This is part of a wider campaign to improve steaming technology in Taiwanese packing facilities that have been approved by Japan’s officials. For imports to be allowed, the goods will need to have been steam-treated to remove any contaminants. Last year, Japan imported 18,000 tonnes of fresh fruit from Taiwan including mangos, papaya and lychees at a value of $30m (€28m), making Japan the largest global importer of Taiwanese fresh produce.

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Serpentine

Photo of the week / Serpentine Pavilion, London

Minsuk Cho launches Serpentine Pavilion

The Serpentine Pavilion 2024 at London’s Hyde Park, designed by South Korean architect Minsuk Cho, opens to the public today. The temporary structure is used as a conceptual testing ground for each year’s selected architect. Previous commission winners include Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer and Rem Koolhaas.

This year, Cho explores the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces through his work entitled “Archipelagic Void”. His pavilion features five structures positioned around a central courtyard, or madang, similar to those found in traditional South Korean houses.

Monocle Radio / The Urbanist

Start with Children summit

How can we build better cities for future generations? This week we bring you a report from Bratislava, which recently played host to a two-day event bringing together mayors, policymakers, architects and business leaders to discuss how to create safer and greener cities, with children’s health in mind. A place that is designed with children at its core often ends up being more inclusive for all residents. So where do we begin?


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00