A better partner: Indonesia? [Gateway House]

The official results have been declared, and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the populist Governor of Jakarta, has won a close victory in the Indonesian presidential election.

There are several practical economic reasons to be interested in this election’s outcome. Indonesia is a large exporter of coal, edible oils, and other raw materials; India imports these resources and more, and so any change in Indonesian trade policy will affect how India continues to source these from Indonesia. In addition, there is the question of whether Indonesia’s high rates of growth can be sustained. Mr. Widodo has proposed a change in economic policy, in particular supporting greater welfare for the poor, expanding anti-corruption measures, and more investment in education.

However, what does the Indonesian election mean more generally for India, as anothermajor Asian country to have an election this year? What insights can we draw from comparing each new administration’s victories? One answer comes from journalist Pallavi Aiyar who argues that Indonesia is surprisingly similar to India, both in terms of its attributes and the challenges the country will face in the future.

This is an excerpt from a blog post written for Gateway Housea foreign-policy think tank based in Mumbai, India, published on July 22nd, 2014. The post can be accessed here.