India’s prime minister Narendra Modi was re-elected to office in a landslide victory for his BJP party.  Since then, he has implemented policies that have promoted hardline sectarianism.

Modi is a Hindu nationalist in a diverse country that includes one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. He rose to political prominence in the early 2000s as the chief minister of Gujarat during inter-communal riots that lead to the murder of over a thousand people, mostly Muslims. He was widely accused of failing to stop the riots and has used the mass murder of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 to his political advantage.

Modi was first elected Prime Minister in 2014 and since his re-election in May 2019, Modi has very much doubled down on implementing a stridently pro-Hindu agenda that is undermining secular democracy in India. This includes, most recently, the passage of a law that excludes Muslim immigrants to India of certain citizenship eligibilities.

That transparently anti-Muslim law has sparked massive protests across India, which at time of recording show little signs of abating.

On the line with me to explain how a newly re-elected Narendra Modi is using his political power to advance a Hindu nationalist agenda, what what that means in a country with nearly 200 million Muslims is Michael Kugelman. He is  Deputy director of the Asia Program and South Asia senior associate at the Wilson Center.  We kick off discussing this new citizenship law before having a broader conversation about how Narenda Modi is changing India, what that means for Indian democracy and international relations.

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