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India’s East Asian Dream

SINGAPORE – On August 15, Narendra Modi delivered his first Independence Day speech as Prime Minister. Though he continued the tradition of addressing the country from the ramparts of Delhi’s historic Red Fort, the speech broke with convention. Shunning a written text, Modi extemporized for an hour, mapping out an explicit vision for India, including an economic model that constitutes a clean break from India’s past.

Since 1991, India has been slowly changing its policy framework away from the socialist vision of its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. However, for political reasons, the changes were always justified in an almost apologetic way. Indeed, many Nehru-era institutions continue to exist – and even thrive.