India & the world will meet 2023 fingers-crossed

We meet some new years effervescently but 2023 has us feeling edgy, like too much is hanging in the balance and we shouldn’t jinx the silver linings. The Ukraine-Russia war was the big black swan event of 2022 and what tops the world’s wishlist today is that both of them find a way to negotiate peace. The world’s health and wealth are also closely tied to how China manages its stop-start pandemic games. India has so far done a credible job of riding these geoeconomic headwinds, from managing inflation to rerouting its energy supplies. But the work of returning to its potential growth path will become harder if global recession builds up.

Besides this knotty economic driving, BJP is also looking at a full election calendar that will specially test its southward skills. New sops for Lingayats and Vokkaligas in Karnataka are indicative of how tough this prestige battle is. Congress’s tough task is to convert Bharat Jodo Yatra’s buzz into electoral successes. Rahul Gandhi must understand that power is not ‘poison’, it’s a necessity.

2023 will also test domestic resilience in India’s favourite sport – cricket. The aesthetic detachment with which Indians could enjoy the football World Cup won’t be available with the ODI World Cup, where the pain of not having won an ICC trophy since 2013 really needs healing.

But in addition to resilience, there has to be nimbleness. Past three years are proof that the unexpected happens. If, say, El Nino hurts the monsoon, government and RBI will have to go back to the drawing board, for an even tougher tightrope walk. If Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan pushes Pakistan near implosion, our security will have to step up swiftly. And if the year turns out to be unexpectedly pleasant instead, that will be a welcome breather.


This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.


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