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  • Author: Thomas Carothers, Andrew O'Donohue
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Political polarization is growing in South and Southeast Asia—one part of a troubling global trend. From long-established democracies like India to newer ones like Indonesia, deep-seated sociopolitical divisions have become increasingly inflamed in recent years, fueling democratic erosion and societal discord. New political and economic strains caused by the coronavirus pandemic are only reinforcing this worrisome trend. This report focuses on six key countries: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Behind the tremendous diversity of these cases lie illuminating commonalities, alongside revealing differences, in the roots, trajectories, drivers, and consequences of polarization, as well as in the attempted remedies different actors have pursued.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Culture, Reform, Democracy, Polarization, Society
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Joachim Betz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite being a consolidated democracy with free and fair elections and having a political system with intense party competition, a relatively vibrant civil society, and a functioning federal set-up, India still ranks poorly in terms of the coverage, generosity, efficiency, and quality of its social protection. This is difficult to explain based on the factors usually advanced for the implementation of generous social policies. A second puzzle is the predominantly protective nature of welfare policies in India in the current era of globalisation, which should necessitate policies enabling workers to participate successfully in a more demanding economic environment. These puzzles may be explained partly by (a) the long-term insulation of the Indian economy from international competition, (b) the low share of industry and modern services in GDP until recently, (c) the precedence of identity policies, (d) the fragmentation of the political sphere, and (e) the meagre empowerment of women in India. We should, however, acknowledge that change is underway and that the picture is not bleak across India as a whole – being supported by economic reforms and growth, a greater degree of decentralisation and party competition within the country, increasingly discerning voters, and progress on female education and employment opportunities.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Reform, Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: David Scott
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: President Macron talks of France’s ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’ (une stratégie indo-pacifique). This article analyzes French strategic discourse and strategy adopted for the Indo-Pacific by France. It finds that French strategy has three main elements. Firstly it has seeks legitimacy, politically seeking to move from a colonial possessions position to democratic integration with France, and has sought to achieve regional integration and legitimacy of this. Secondly, geographically France has moved up northwards from its possessions in the Southern Indian Ocean and Southern Pacific to active maritime involvement in the northern Indian Ocean, South China Sea and Western Pacific. Thirdly, French strategy is to actively secure security partnerships with other countries in the region. Naval projection is a prominent feature of French strategy, which is a strategy which is significantly driven by China’s maritime expansion across the Indo-Pacific. The article thus seeks to analyze, explain and evaluate the effectiveness of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Democracy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indonesia, India, France, Indo-Pacific, South China Sea
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: This year’s Democracy Report shows that the trend of a third wave autocratization – the decline of democratic regime traits – continues and now affects 24 countries. When we weight levels of democracy by population size – because democracy is rule by the people and it matters how many of them are concerned – it emerges that almost one third of the world’s population live in countries undergoing autocratization. Yet democracy still prevails in a majority of countries in the world (99 countries, 55 percent). This section analyses the state of democracy in the world in 2018 and developments since 1972, with an emphasis on the last 10 years. Our analysis builds on the 2019 release of the V-Dem dataset.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Developing World, Democracy, Populism
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Ukraine, India, Brazil
  • Author: Ric Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ric Smith has masterfully woven archival material, memories of his own time as a foreign service officer, and conversations with other officers of the then Department of Foreign Affairs to recount the crisis in East Pakistan in 1971 and the difficult birth of Bangladesh. Smith highlights the Cold War incongruities of the crisis, including the Soviet Union’s support for democratic India’s position during the crisis, while the United States supported the military regime in Pakistan. The episode also stands as an example of Canberra diverging from Washington on an issue that was garnering political and media attention in Australia. Australia was able to pursue a policy toward the region that was independent from the United States, accepting early that East Pakistan was “finished” and that there was a need to address an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Smith’s book imparts important lessons about diplomacy for Australia: It is not only possible for Australia’s politicians and diplomats to take independent positions on major international problems, but they are sometimes respected by their allies when they do so.
  • Topic: Cold War, Human Rights, Democracy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Europe, India, Asia, Soviet Union, Australia
  • Author: Mani Shankar Aiyar
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Elected three times to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, and nominated by the President to Rajya Sabha, the upper house, for a further six years, Aiyar has served for 21 years in the Indian Parliament, been conferred the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award (2006), and been a Cabinet Minister for five years (2004-09). He has authored seven books, including Confession of a Secular Fundamentalist, and edited the three volumes of Rajiv Gandhi’s India.
  • Topic: Religion, Law, Democracy, Citizenship, Religious Law, Secularism
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Ashutosh Varshney
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Of late, Indian democracy has been confronted with a new political economy. Strong economic growth over the last three decades has generated the world’s fourth-largest collection of dollar billionaires and the third-largest middle class, both for the first time in Indian history, while still leaving the single largest concentration of the poor behind. In a democracy where the lower-income groups have come to vote as much as, or more than, the higher-income groups, the polity must find creative ways of walking on two legs: maintaining the momentum of economic growth while also taking care of mass welfare.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Elections, Democracy, Welfare
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Daniela Vieria Secches, Maria Cristina Andrade Aires
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: A changing world in which global and regional powers rethink their actions and preferences in the international arena is a world where domestic politics increasingly creates a more complex framework for foreign behavior. Many newly emerging powers have just recently adopted a democratic regime, while others are still governed by hard autocracies. Within this context, their civil societies have different channels to express their preferences towards the new world order under formation and their expectations concerning how their states plan to be part of it. This paper will discuss how emerging regional powers behave in this changing world, the possibilities and limits imposed by civil society pressure, or even inaction. The authors wish to address how these systemic changes impact on the channels through which civil society movements voice their platforms for their country international role, considering the degree of democratic institutional consolidation as an intervening variable. As case studies, this theoretical debate will be applied to contemporary Brazil and India.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Democracy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Brazil, South America