Markets are a-boom—from cement to software, art to underwear—and are blithely indifferent to politics. Leaden-footed governments have ceased to much perturb the dynamic parts of the economy, and Indian capitalism’s confidence today is such that it can brush off a major terrorist attack in its own heartland and maintain its upward climb.
The new statistical India—we can all cite growth rates now, discourse on the ‘demographic dividend’, recite how many new mobile phones joined the networks last week—has combined with the sense that India is now at least a cub member of the big boys’ club, that Washington above all wants and maybe actually needs us. Even Beijing is starting to acknowledge that India’s democratic experiment has not been entirely a waste of time. And in countries that once saw the India of fly-ridden, emaciated children and dynastic, corrupt politicians, every self-respecting think-tank is hastily putting together an ‘India programme’, international journals are doing their ‘India issue’, investment banks and management consultancies their ‘India retreats’.