Barbara Crosette explains why India often gives global governance the biggest headache.
Think for a moment about which countries cause the most global consternation. Afghanistan. Iran. Venezuela. North Korea. Pakistan. Perhaps rising China. But India? Surely not. In the popular imagination, the world's largest democracy evokes Gandhi, Bollywood, and chicken tikka. In reality, however, it's India that often gives global governance the biggest headache.
Of course, India gets marvelous press. Feature stories from there typically bring to life Internet entrepreneurs, hospitality industry pioneers, and gurus keeping spiritual traditions alive while lovingly bridging Eastern and Western cultures.
But something is left out of the cheery picture. For all its business acumen and the extraordinary creativity unleashed in the service of growth, today's India is an international adolescent, a country of outsize ambition but anemic influence. India's colorful, stubborn loquaciousness, so enchanting on a personal level, turns out to be anything but when it comes to the country's international relations. On crucial matters of global concern, from climate change to multilateral trade, India all too often just says no.