Prime Minister Modi warned that "forces of protectionism are raising their heads" against international trade and commerce. "Bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations have come to a kind of standstill," he said.
He also praised his country's commitment to democracy and diversity. "For a society with diverse religions, cultures, languages, attires and cuisines, democracy is not just a political system but a way of living," he said, adding that inclusion is the "main principle" of his government.
Is Modi living up to the ideals of globalization and diversity that he spoke of in his Davos speech? Let's compare these words to his government's actions.
In December 2017, Modi's government imposed stiff tariffs on imports of cellphones, video cameras and televisions, according to a report in New York Times.
The Indian government is also seriously considering a recommendation by Indian Directorate General of Safeguards, Customs and Central Excise that the country impose 70 percent tariffs on imported solar panels.
Mr. Modi has pursued Hindutva politics and policies in spite of warnings by leading economists, including Ragu Rajan, Arun Shourie and analysts at Moody's. These have created a lot of fear among religious minorities and Dalits.
But Mr. Modi has built his entire political career on the intense hatred of Muslims. US President Donald Trump built his successful presidential campaign on Islamophobia and xenophobia. That's what the two men have in common.
India's largest state of Uttar Pradesh elected rabidly anti-Muslim chief minister Yogi Adiyanath who was hand-picked by Muslim-hating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017.
Just as white racists form the core of Trump's support base in America, the Modi phenomenon in India has been fueled by Hindu Nationalists whose leaders have praised Adolph Hitler for his hatred of Jews.
M.S. Golwalkar, a Hindu Nationalist who Mr. Modi has described as "worthy of worship" wrote the following about Muslims in his book "We":
"Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
"To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's actions do not match his rhetoric on globalization and commitment to diversity. His government's protectionist trade policies and treatment of minorities speak far louder than his words at the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland.
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