Indian Politics

Indian politics
from the book

2007 marks the 60th anniversary of Indian independence. India's rise and what it means for 
the world is now a central preoccupation of analysts and policy-makers, who have realised 
that China is not the only 'Asian giant' currently awakening. 
Part I provides key facts and figures about India, drawing together information regarding its 
history, society, political system, political leaders, treaty obligations and the diaspora. 
Part II offers a broad analytical overview of key issues affecting India's past, present and 
future trajectory. It focuses in particular on the co-existence in India of formal democratic 
equality with deep-rooted social inequalities, exploring why the increased democratic 
participation of the poor has not (so far) led to substantial progress in reducing the most 
extreme forms of poverty. It also discusses how India is seeking to reposition itself within the 
wider world by establishing itself as a major power, and how energy security is rising up the 
list of foreign policy priorities as economic growth continues. 
Part III looks at domestic developments and some of the major challenges facing India at 
home. It combines a description of the activities and achievements of the present 
government, which has been in power since 2004, with brief discussions of four issues that 
are important for understanding the contemporary political context in India: the changing 
dynamics of caste politics; the rise of Hindu nationalism and its role in promoting religious 
violence; the Maoist challenge along what is known as India’s 'Red Corridor'; and the 
insurgencies in Kashmir and Northeast India, including Assam. 
Part IV discusses India's evolving foreign and security policy, which entered a new era with 
India’s economic reforms of the 1990s and the series of five underground nuclear tests in 
May 1998. It looks at India's role within the UN, including its current campaign for a 
permanent seat on the UN Security Council,and within regional inter-governmental 
organisations. It also surveys India's bilateral relationships, including with China, Pakistan 
and the US – with which India has signed a controversial civil nuclear co-operation deal. 
Finally, it describes and assesses India's military and nuclear capabilities. 
Part V surveys political and military relations between India and the UK, the overarching 
framework for which is provided by the 2002 New Delhi Declaration. It also looks at defence 
co-operation between the two countries, which has remained strong since Indian 
independence. This part of the Paper also briefly reviews India's relations with the European 
Union, which could advance to a new level if proposals for a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement bear fruit. There is uncertainty about whether the agreement will 
include clauses on human rights and weapons of mass destruction, as has become 
customary in such agreements. 

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