With the recent reform of India’s citizenship law, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing its Hindu-nationalist agenda. The reform became necessary to fix the shortcomings of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state of Assam and to pave the way for a national citizens’ register. Critics are accusing the government of outright discrimination, against Muslims in particular, because the plan could deprive a large number of people of their right to citizenship and undermine fundamental values of the constitution. The measures have also met with much criticism internationally, including from the United States and the United Nations. India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has defended the reform plans and referred to China’s handling of domestic political problems. If India were to embark on such a path in the long term, this could possibly spark a discussion on whether, and to what extent, an increasingly Hindu-nationalistic India can still be considered a partner that shares values with the West.
Richa Arora, Christian Wagner