It needs to be restated that notwithstanding its voluminous contribution to the causes of democratisation and good governance in its neighbourhood and far off regions, world’s largest democracy doesn’t yet have an official policy on democracy support. This has prompted scholars and democracy watchdogs to label India as a “reluctant or hesitant promoter.”
Why is India wary of “open democracy support” despite its extraordinary (if not unblemished) record in maintaining its democratic institutions since independence in 1947? Importantly, the word ‘democracy’ is amiss in India’s foreign policy. Is it not time for the region’s democratic powerhouse to have its own official agencies equivalent of USAID (US) or DFID (UK) to anchor its external democratic assistance? Would not an official policy help India plan and improve the nature and quantum of its contribution to aid liberal democratic order and help soar up its soft power appeal better? Needless to say, sheer demographic weight and geopolitical ambitions/rising economic profile demand India play a more visible and assertive role in defending values and promote its own unique democratic models.
It is against this background, the Takshashila Institution and Observer Research Foundation (ORF), supported by the Asia Democracy Network are holding a brainstorming on the above questions (but not limited to these) so as to identity ways and means to help India’s policy makers. Overall, the proposed exercise endeavours to build much required momentum on India’s external democracy support.
Chair: Amb. Vijay Latha Reddy, Distinguished Fellow, ORF
Nitin Pai, Director, Takshashila Institution, Bengaluru
Amb. N. Ravi, Former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Afrairs and Senior Fellow, Centre for Public Policy, IIMB
Zorawar Daulet Singh, Fellow, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi
Ash Narain Roy, Director, Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), New Delhi
Sudha Ramachandran, independent researcher and journalist
Niranjan Sahoo, Senior Fellow, ORF
The timing of this event is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.