Hindu nationalism joining forces with European nationalists

There are “growing ties between the far right in India and Europe, a connection that is rooted primarily in a shared hostility toward immigrants and Muslims, and couched in similar overarching nationalistic visions,” writes Eviane Ledig in Foreign Policy.com (January 21, 2020). The article notes that these links have predated the rise of Europe’s nationalist wave when Hindu nationalists collaborated with fascists in Italy and Nazi Germany, with Hindu right pioneer V.D. Savarkar seeing the Nazi’s solution in dealing with the “Jewish problem” as a model for India’s approach with its “Muslim problem.” Prime Minister Narenda Modi has been hailed as a nationalist hero, with Steve Bannon calling him “a Trump before Trump,” and Dutch nationalist leader Geert Wilders praising his leadership.

Last fall, 23 members of the European Parliament belonging to far right political parties visited Kashmir shortly after the Indian government had removed special autonomous status from the region. This action was taken after a period of unrest in the region with separatists supported by Pakistan, although analysts say that it was part of India’s ambition to expand its territorial reach and to further restrict Muslim populations, Ledig writes. The invitees were promised a VIP meeting with Modi and toured Indian military faculties. The visit was sponsored by a New Delhi-based NGO called the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies. Although the visit of the MEP’s were criticized by the international community for flouting diplomatic norms, “it signals a new development in Indo-European relations…The far right in these two regions are learning from each other, and their abilities to govern according to a shared ideological agenda rooted in Islamophobia are evolving in parallel,” Ledig concludes.

(Foreign Policy)