India is emerging on the international stage as both an aspiring voice for the global south and a strategic partner for Western democracies that perceive it as a counterweight to China. Its rise is accompanied by regional and domestic conflicts. The traditionally restive western border with Pakistan remains on edge, as the Kashmir conflict continues to fester. The northern border with China has been unstable since the deadly clash of April 2020, with tensions between the two Asian giants increasingly enmeshed in the U.S.-China rivalry. An ethnic conflict is raging in the state of Manipur, bordering Myanmar, threatening to destabilise the country’s north-eastern region. Meanwhile, concerns are growing about the steady erosion of India’s democracy. Crisis Group monitors and analyses India’s foreign policy and domestic conflicts with the aim of providing policymakers effective frameworks for better understanding and addressing these internal and external dynamics.

Read our CrisisWatch entries on India-Pakistan (Kashmir) here.

CrisisWatch India

Unchanged Situation

PM Modi won relative majority in Parliament, ethnic violence spread to Manipur’s Jiribam district, anti-Maoist operations continued in centre.

Modi won elections without outright majority. Modi 9 June sworn in as PM for third term after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured 240 out of 543 parliamentary seats, 63 fewer than in 2019. With results below majority mark of 272, Modi 7 June forced to form coalition with 14 regional allies under National Democratic Alliance umbrella, now in control of 293 seats. Opposition Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance won 232 seats, unexpectedly high score given pro-govt political and media landscape during campaign; main opposition party of alliance, Indian National Congress, secured 99 seats, almost doubling previous share.

Violence in Manipur ran high in Jiribam district. After Meitei farmer was found dead on 6 June, under suspicious circumstances, ethnic tensions and violence rose in Jiribam, which had so far been spared by violence. Notably, suspected militants 8 June set fire on police outpost and houses, displacing 2,000 people who sought refuge in Assam state; suspected Kuki militants 10 June ambushed police convoy on way to Jiribam, injuring one security force personnel, reportedly set fire to 30 houses and two police checkposts. In high-level security meeting, Union Home Minister Amit Shah 17 June said govt would talk to both Meiteis and Kuki-zo “to bridge the ethnic divide at the earliest”. Thousands Kuki-Zo 24 June held rallies in hill districts to call for end to ethnic violence and creation of “Union territory”.

Security forces continued anti-Maoist operations in centre. In Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, bombs planted by Maoist 2 and 5 June injured two. In Narayanpur district, security forces 7 June shot down seven Maoists during operation; 15 June killed eight Maoists during five-day operation, which also left security personnel dead. In Jharkhand state’s West Singhbhum district, security forces 17 June killed five Maoists. In Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, IED detonated by Maoists 23 June killed two security forces.

India-China relations remained under stress. Modi 7 June expressed desire to strengthen ties with Taiwan, after Taiwan President congratulated BJP leader on election victory; comments triggered strong diplomatic reaction from Beijing.

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