Whenever they talk about India and its "inevitable" rise to world economic dominance, establishment hacks like Thomas "Iraq War booster" Friedman always seem compelled to note that the country is "the world's largest democracy." They might want to talk to the residents of the now-defunct Jammu & Kashmir before invoking that phrase, but the underlying point seems to be that India—with its growing economic might and vibrant, functional parliamentary system—can provide a freedom-respecting alternative to the Chinese communist model for economic development and industrialization.
The pundits are, as usual, half right. India is being used as a testing ground and a potential model for the developing nations to follow . . . but that model has nothing to do with freedom. Rather than building some sort of system for protecting and fostering the rights of the individual, the Indian government has been quietly erecting the walls of the world's largest biometric prison.