Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Tech giants happy to do Narendra Modi’s bidding in return for access to Indian market | John Naughton

The Indian leader’s autocratic tendencies do not seem to have posed great ethical difficulties for Facebook and Twitter

For decades, India was a poster child for democratic development: a poor, sprawling, ethnically diverse country that nevertheless had regular elections and peaceful transfers of power – the hallmarks of a functioning democracy – albeit with the flaws inherent in such a system, including a single dominant party – the Congress party. And then, in May 2014, Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP, was elected, swept to power on a standard-issue neoliberal platform of modernisation, privatisation and liberalisation of the economy, slashing welfare budgets, lowering corporate taxes, abolishing wealth taxes, etc.

Modi’s election, wrote the august journal Foreign Policy, marked a critical milestone in his country’s development. He was “the first leader since independence to command a lower-house parliamentary majority that did not belong to the Congress party of India’s founders Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. After 65 years, a dynastic founding party was subsumed by new blood.” But in the six years since his first election (he was re-elected in 2019), the journal continued, “it has become clear that his style of leadership poses an existential threat to the world’s largest democracy. Through his wildly successful promotion of Hindutva ideology, Modi is poised to remake India into a Russian-style ‘managed democracy’ – one retaining all the trappings of democracy while operating as a de facto autocracy.”

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