India Goes to the Polls: The State Elections and Beyond
Over November and December, assembly elections have been held in five Indian states: Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan. These elections are taking place in the midst of one of the most hard-fought national election campaigns in India’s history, which is leading up to the general election in spring 2014. Observers are watching the state elections and their results, due on December 8, closely, looking for answers to a number of questions: What might the 2013 results suggest in terms of the outcome of the 2014 national elections? Which issues and candidates are resonating with the electorate? Are crowds at election rallies translating into votes?
On December 18, The India Project at Brookings hosted a discussion on the results of the state elections and their implications, what they might or might not indicate about national politics, and what lies ahead in the run up to the national elections in 2014. Panelists included Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute, and Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Brookings Fellow Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project, moderated the discussion.
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I think probably that the lesson that [Kim Jong Un is] learning is that he doesn’t have to give up anything and yet people will be scrambling for summits with him. ... The longer we have these drawn-out talks, these summits, bilaterals, trilaterals, quadrilaterals, the more it buys time for them to reinforce their claimed status [as a nuclear power] but also to continue with their R&D. But I do think that there is an element of trying to mitigate the sanctions, and also Kim took all those discussions about military strikes seriously enough to try and take the wind out of the sails. ... I find it difficult to envision how or why he would give up his nuclear weapons, which have pretty much given him what he’s wanted: which is the strategic relevance, the international prestige, and deterrence.
[Regarding President Trump's shift from enthusiasm to uncertainty over the U.S.-North Korea summit] In effect, President Trump is getting a mini-lesson in talking to the North Koreans even before he talks to the North Koreans.
[Kim Jong Un] did not engage diplomatically at all in those first seven years [as the leader of North Korea], probably because he didn’t want to hear the Chinese nagging him about advancing these weapons. And also he wasn’t going to start bargaining or negotiating them away. ... Kim has done a pivot where he’s doing a maximum engagement.