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Project Partner: Justice Adda | 2022-23

The Indian Parliament is the foremost legislative body of the Republic of India. However, even after over seven decades of Independence, Parliament continues to remain a distant and notional entity for many. There is a severe dearth of useful resources about Parliament that speak directly to citizens, in particular young people who are the future of our country. Providing such an opportunity for learning to young people is especially important given their capacity to become leaders and mould a better future.

'Sabha' was conceptualised at Justice Adda as a way to create an edutainment tool for young people and citizens to learn more about Parliament, in a fun and interactive manner.

The Team behind 'Sabha' consists of Lawyers, Graphic Designers, Parliamentary experts, and social scientists. It has been developed over the course of 9 months, through extensive consultations with Parliamentary experts, Game Developers and civic engagement professionals. 

Sabha is a completely free and open access board based on a 'Print-And-Play' Model game, developed by Justice Adda with support from Hanns Seidel Foundation India.

Authors: Dr. Sarish Sebastian, Dr. Philip Varghese & Dr. Shalini B | January 2023

The report presents a detailed inquiry into the multidimensional aspects of India’s relationship with the Southeast Asia region that encompass cultural, historical, political, economic and strategic ties. Historically, and before the establishment of contemporary nation-states, Southeast Asia and India shared strong cultural and commercial ties that go back to the first century. The trade led to extensive cultural and philosophical ties, which have had an impact on society and language up to the current day.

Today, the region represents a major economic and strategic landscape of the world with enormous diversity in language, traditions, culture, political systems and ethnicity. However, in spite of the huge economic and strategic opportunities that the region offers, the study of the Southeast Asian region has not received the attention and focus that it actually deserves among Indian strategic circles. Given this, the study undertaken by CHRIST (Deemed to be University) in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Stiftung (HSS) aims to bridge this gap in existing scholarship of the region in India and to provide valuable insights to the country’s foreign policy making architecture in building India’s relationship with the region in forthcoming years. Here are few key takeaways from the report:

  • India's shared border with Myanmar makes it necessary for it to develop physical infrastructure that improves border trade and inter-personal connections. Additionally, it gives India the prospects to connect to continental ASEAN by rail and road lines, fostering stronger cultural and commercial ties. By enabling the seamless movement of products and services, the upgraded connectivity infrastructure between India and ASEAN is anticipated to produce greater economic results. With the 3Cs—culture, connectivity, and commerce—declared as the primary pillars of engagement with ASEAN, connectivity has taken new emphasis in India's renamed Act East Policy.
  • The security exchanges between India and Southeast Asia are a recent development. India's security diplomacy with ASEAN countries has grown as a result of the country's expanding maritime presence and interests. The growing geopolitical and strategic importance of India and ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific, the shared pursuit of energy resources in the South China Sea, the security dynamics in light of China's expanding footprints in the region, and the undercurrents of US-China strategic contestations have all shaped India-security engagement with ASEAN.
  • The paradigm of New Delhi's policy toward the area has shifted over time from one of security to one of development. Aiming to connect NER with Southeast Asia through connectivity projects and consequently increase economic opportunities between the region, New Delhi placed NER in its Look East and Act East policy agenda. Southeast Asia is a key area for New Delhi's connection ambitions due to its geographic proximity to NER. In order to encourage greater mobility of products and people between the regions, India has placed an emphasis on both sea and land connectivity. India has started a number of connectivity projects to strengthen the infrastructure around the borders of Southeast Asian nations as well as the NER.
  • The Look/Act East Policy's key tactic has been to project its soft power in Southeast Asian nations. A crucial component of foreign policy, soft power works to promote a nation's good reputation overseas through a variety of cultural channels. Through Buddha to Bollywood, India has tried to use its soft-power potential in Southeast Asia. Through its support for Southeast Asian nations' temple renovation projects, films, cultural events, and tourism, India has promoted soft power in the area.
Authors: Rahul Verma, Nishant Ranjan, Satyam Shukla, Vaibhav Parik, Shamik Vatsa & Melvin Kunjumon | December 2022

A study of democracy is incomplete without a study of one of its most fundamental components—political parties. In India, works on the country’s political parties so far have explored, among other things, the direct and indirect relationship between the nature and type of political parties and the different facets of the state and governance. One such recurring theme is the exploration of the overall structure of federalism i.e relationship between the centre and state governments(Gardner 2013; Jenkins and Roscoe 2014; Borges 2011).

The influence of political parties on the level of centralization and decentralization has not only impacted the federal structure of the country but has also influenced voters in choosing national parties over regional players(Chhibber and Kollman 1998). This ability of the national political parties to overall influence state-level politics has majorly impacted the regional autonomy of states(Gardner 2013).

The transition of the Indian political system into a dominant party system centred around the BJP in the past decade provokes us to see how the changes in the party system are translated across states in India. Initially, we will consider broad and empirical evidence to study the formation, survival and dissolution or exit of parties in India. Here, we show how and when parties in India are formed, what factors impact their survival and what causes their eventual decline and exit. This section is the product of research conducted on a dataset developed over the course of the year. This dataset profiles all parties in all Indian states for legislative assembly elections conducted between 1962 and 2021inclusive.

We first start by looking at periods of high formation and dissolution of political parties and find how many of India’s parties fail to last, ending up exiting the competition after a single election. We subsequently differentiate between the types of parties being formed: are they new and organically arising, or are they the product of splintering and shifting within existing parties? Our research does show that many successful parties are not entirely new and there are a significant number of key parties in states that have links to older national parties. This is especially true for the several parties that split from the INC, or ones that emerged from the breakup of the Janata Parivar of parties.

Later in this section, we also look at state-wise trends of entry and exit of parties in any given election, and how new entrants perform in comparison to more established players. The results suggest that except in certain regions, the hold of older parties has increased, specifically post-1989,whilstsignificantchange happened before it. It also goes on to suggest that the polity of India’s states may be far more stable than frequently suggested.

In the second part of the report, we see how national and regional parties are changing across states in three broad fields—ideologically, in their support bases and in their mobilization strategies and organizational capabilities. We have approached state-level experts in political parties and elections through an online survey to evaluate the parties in the above-mentioned parameters. Insights available from elite surveys(or expert surveys)conducted in the past decades present a national picture of major players in Indian politics in terms of their presence and organizational strength, but we have little to no insights into regional parties and how national parties organize themselves at the state level.

Authors: Siddharth Anil Nair & Janhavi Pande | September 2022

The 6th India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultation (IGC) was held on 2nd May 2022. Indian Prime Minister Modi met with German Chancellor Scholz in Berlin, the first stop of the former’s three-part Europe tour. This was their first interaction since the latter assumed office in December 2021. The 6th IGC’s significance was widely recognised as significant by observers of Indian, German, and EU foreign policies. The IGC was important given its circumstances: a global pandemic, food and energy insecurity, the retreat of democracy around the world, rising climate change threats, and territorial and economic tensions. 

This project was conceptualised to: 

1. Study the priorities enunciated in the ‘Agenda for the Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century’ and subsequent bilateral policy documents
2. Understand the inherent and emergent contours of the India-Germany strategic partnership in the current international context
3. Provide an overview of the partnership’s interests, priorities, opportunities, and challenges.

Authors: Ruhee Neog & Siddharth Anil Nair | March 2021

The 15th India-EU Summit’s significance—for the bilateral Strategic Partnership and to New Delhi and Brussel’s security and foreign policy agendas—has been widely recognised. Taking cognisance of these new dynamics, the IPCS x HSS India-EU Series was conceptualised to:

  1. Study priorities enunciated in the India-EU Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025 document
  2. Distil diplomatic terminology and bilateral and global political and policy realities for an assessment of what kind of cooperation is materially possible
  3. Arrive at points of convergence for sector-specific policy recommendations that mirror Indian and EU priorities.

The project solicited institutional and subject-matter views on bilateral expectations, priorities for cooperation, areas of conceptual convergence and divergence, and opportunities and challenges for policy implementation. These interviews, listed in order of episodes, were held via the IPCS vodcast, Parallax. The Series is available to view here.

Its findings were supplemented by research on sectoral developments in health, environment and climate change, information and communication technology (ICT), and research and innovation—all areas identified in the Roadmap to 2025—the broader trajectory of the India-EU Strategic Partnership, and New Delhi and Brussels’ individual and combined interests and capabilities.

The ten recommendations offered in this Policy Brief, authored by Ruhee Neog and Siddharth Anil Nair, are a result of this exercise. 

Project Partner: Justice Adda | 2021

The "Graphic Law Library" serves the dual purpose of both educating the individual about their rights as well as informing them about the procedures to be followed in order to ensure those rights. The idea is to provide the information needed in a systematic and engaging fashion, providing the history behind the laws and where necessary providing a comprehensible template for the individual to use in the case of procedures.

This project was carried out by Justice Adda, in cooperation with HSS India. Justice Adda wants to make the law accessible to the ordinary citizen in spreading awareness of those laws in a manner that is both engaging as well as informative.