ORF in collaboration with Asia Democracy Network (ADN), Seoul is hosting a consultation on “How India Should Promote Democracy”. The deliberations to be held among foreign policy experts, economists, academicians and other stakeholders, will be followed by a networking lunch.
Notwithstanding its voluminous contribution to the causes of democratisation and good governance in its neighbourhood and far off regions, the world’s largest democracy, India, 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 (Great Britain) 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 that ORF and ADN, proposes to hold a brainstorming session on the above questions (but not limited to these) so as to identify ways and means to help India’s policymakers in formulating such a policy. Overall, the proposed exercise endeavors to build a much-required momentum on India’s external democracy support.
S.Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India
Neelam Deo, Director, Gateway House : Indian Council of Global Relations
Dhruva Jaishankar, Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings India
Shakti Sinha, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML)
Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner (CIC)
Niranjan Sahoo, Senior Fellow, ORF
The event is from 10:00-13:00 hours