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The European Union

and Democracy Building


in South Asia

Rajendra K. Jain, Professor of European Studies, School of International Studies,


Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The European Union and Democracy Building in South Asia

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance 2009

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The European Union
and Democracy
Building in South Asia
Abstract
The European Union (EU) and its member states have been among the most active
supporters of the introduction, expansion and consolidation of democracy around the
world. Since the early 1990s, moral and strategic considerations have underlined the
European Unions concerns and policies towards democracy and good governance.
The key operational instrumaents at the disposal of the European Commission are
election assistance and observation, and the European Instrument for Democracy and
Human Rights (EIDHR), which does not require the consent of partner countries
and is carried out primarily in partnership with non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). In South Asia, the EU has incorporated essential element clauses into third
generation agreements. India has exerted some degree of influence on democracy in
developing countries because its pre-independence leadership had a strong commitment
to democratic values. India has been sharing its rich experience, institutional
capabilities and training infrastructure with nations that share its values and beliefs
and which request its assistance and expertise in the areas of electoral management and
administration, electoral law and electoral reform.

Historically, democracy in Pakistan has been weak and not given a proper chance to
grow roots and develop. In Nepal, the EU took an active interest and played a proactive
role in the restoration of parliamentary democracy after the assassination of the ruling
monarch and the Maoist insurgency led to a virtual civil war from 2004. Sanctions
against Myanmar have been counterproductive in moving it towards democracy.

The promotion of democracy is not specifically mentioned as an objective in the South


Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter. The inherent constraints
of SAARC make it difficult to contemplate regional projects in the politically sensitive
areas of democracy building and human rights. The SAARC Charter does, however,
permit the formation of action committees to deal with areas of activity in which all
members may not have an equal interest. South Asia is a region where democracy
preceded nation- and state-building. It therefore does not conform to the European
ideal, making the challenges of democratization more difficult. The nurturing and

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consolidation of democratic institutions and processes
South Asia is a region where democracy preceded in South Asia will essentially be done by domestic actors.
nation- and state-building. It therefore does not The coming to power of elected governments in a number
conform to the European ideal, making the of South Asian countries in 2008 is the beginning, not the
challenges of democratization more difficult. end, of the process of consolidating and sustaining fragile
democracies in the region.

Summary of Recommendations
There should be greater coordination between the EU and its member states on
democratization and good governance projects. In addition, the EU should:

graduate from an undue emphasis on human rights and good governance to more
holistic development strategies;

devote greater resources to the developmental agenda, education and the media;

foster greater civil society exchanges in South Asia by the institutionalization of


regional dialogues on democracy building similar to apex organizations like
the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians, Chief Justices and
SAARCLAW;

introduce short-term activities such as study visits, workshops, seminars, symposia


on themes like voter registration, election observation, electoral management and
administration, electoral law and electoral reform for interaction, information
sharing and sharing of expertise;

formulate training programmes for practitioners, young and middle-level officials,


Election Commission officials, and so on, to be held within the region;

fund, promote and develop course modules on democratization and provide experts
and course instructors to the South Asia University;

fund on a sustained basis policy research and analysis on democracy by South Asian
research institutes and think tanks, including a five-yearly regional barometer of
public opinion and attitudes to democracy.

1. Democracy Promotion and the European Union


The European Union (EU) and its member states have been among the most active
supporters of the introduction, expansion and consolidation of democracy around
the world. European efforts and funds relevant to democracy promotion have so
far been targeted towards the recently acceded EU member states, the Balkans, the
Newly Independent States and the Mediterranean. South Asia, which has one-fifth of
the worlds population, is a region which suffers from shortcomings in the quality of
democracy and governance. Historically, it has not been a region of frontline policy for
the EU, including with regard to democracy building, although EU engagement in the
region increased considerably after the events of 11 September 2001.

Since the early 1990s, moral and strategic considerations have underlined the European
Unions concerns and policies towards democracy and good governance. Democracy

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promotion has been regarded as a desirable end in itself, as a peace strategy, and as
fostering socio-economic development and the protection of human rights (Smith
2007: 151152). The EU and its member states intrinsically link democracy aid with
governance, human rights and civil society support.

Box 1. Communication on the EUs Role in Promoting Human Rights and


Democratization in Third Countries

The EU Communication identifies three areas where by adopting a more strategic approach to the
the Commission can act effectively: European Initiative for Democracy and Human
Rights (EIDHR) (European Commission 2001).
through promoting coherent and consistent
policies, especially through development and The Commission undertook to mainstream the
other official assistance; process of integrating human rights and
democratization issues into all aspects EU policy
by taking a more proactive approach, in decision-making and implementation, including
particular by using the opportunities offered
external assistance (European Commission
by political dialogue, trade and external
2001: 13).
assistance; and

One of the foreign policy objectives enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty (1991) is to
develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms. The Council of the European Union and the European
Commission incorporated the promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of
law and good governance into a November 2000 Joint Statement on the European
Communitys development policy (European Union 2000).

To these ends, the EU uses instruments of traditional diplomacy and foreign policy such
as declarations and demarches, cooperation and assistance programmes, and bilateral
political dialogues (European Commission 2007: 7). The EU also includes an essential
element clause in third country agreements, which states that respect for human rights
and democratic principles underpins the internal and external policies of the parties.
In practice, however, the EU does not adopt a punitive approach to breaches of such
clauses. The key operational instruments at the disposal of the European Commission
are election assistance and observation, and the European Instrument for Democracy
and Human Rights (EIDHR), which does not require the consent of partner countries
and is carried out primarily in partnership with non-governmental organizations
(NGOs).

The European Union and Democracy Building in South Asia


In South Asia, the EU incorporated essential element clauses into third generation
agreements concluded with India (1994), Pakistan (2001), Bangladesh (2000) and Sri
Lanka (1994). No projects under EIDHR were undertaken in South Asia between 1994
and 2002, primarily because the vast majority of fiscal allocations went to regions of
Central and Eastern Europe and to the Newly Independent States. From 2002 to 2006,
South Asia received only a 6.85 per cent of the financial allocations, or EUR 7.23
million (European Commission 2007: 17).

The EU and EU member states provide more funding for work on human rights than

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for the political elements of democracy promotion. In fact,
The EU and EU member states provide more most European donors have sought to resist what they see
funding for work on human rights than for the as the containment of human rights work by democracy
political elements of democracy promotion. promotion (Youngs 2008: 165). The EU has been quite
active in the region with regard to election observation, but
only since 2001. South Asia has been the recipient of only a
tiny share of good governance projects.

The European Union and Election Observation in South Asia


Election observation is a vital component of EU activities to promote democracy,
human rights and the rule of law worldwide. Election observation can strengthen
democratic institutions, build public confidence in electoral processes, and help to
deter fraud, intimidation and violence (European Commission 2008 (a): Preface and
5). The European Commission has been active in most South Asian countries, apart
from India which is itself a major actor in election observation and has provided experts
and observers for elections to other countries in cooperation with the United Nations
and the Commonwealth secretariat (Election Commission of India).

The salient features of EU Election Observation Missions (EOMs) in South Asia are:

1. The European Union has undertaken EOMs in South Asia only since the turn of
the millennium Bangladesh (2008), Bhutan (2008), Nepal (2008), Pakistan (2002
and 2008), Sri Lanka (2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005).

2. EOMs were sent to Pakistan despite the inability to conclude a Memorandum of


Understanding (MoU) and the lack of a formal invitation, after obtaining informal
assurances and after political pressure by some EU member states.

3. In the case of Bangladesh, the European Commission was realistic and not dogmatic
in deciding to redeploy an EOM even though the State of Emergency was lifted only
two weeks before polling day. Acceptable conditions for democratic elections had
been created by the Caretaker Government after it repealed some key elements of
the Emergency Powers Rules in November 2008.

4. Since the focus of EIDHR is largely on human rights, EOMs have become the major
means of promoting good governance, although some doubt the extent to which
election observation can contribute to institutionalizing democracy.

5. The recommendations of EOMs are non-binding. The European Commission


does raise and discuss the possibilities of implementing such recommendations in
consultations, but serious efforts to fix the system tend to be resisted by entrenched
elites who try to use the existing system for their own ends.

The European Union, India and Democracy Promotion


India and the EU have reiterated their commitment to defend democracy and human
rights on a number of occasions. At the second India-EU summit (2001), the two sides
resolved to step up efforts to promote democracy and to address human rights issues
at the international and bilateral levels (European Union 2001). Subsequently, India
announced that it had absolutely no problem in joining with the EU in the global

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promotion of democracy and human rights rather than such discussions being used as
a staging point for discussions of human rights and democracy in South Asia (Sibal
2002). In November 2003, both sides expressed their willingness to work together to
promote pluralistic democracy in the world by laying special emphasis on democratic
policies and practice (European Union 2003, para. 4).

The EU regards India as a key partner in supporting the EUs goal of promoting
stability and democracy around the globe (Prodi 2001). India provides the developing
world with a model of a democracy which zealously protects its democratic processes
through its own means. The European Commission has urged the EU to benefit
from Indias specific experience to promote democracy and governance in developing
countries, where aspects of Indias model could present an added value (European
Commission 2004: 1314). The Joint Action Plan of the India-EU strategic partnership
stipulates that the two sides should consult and discuss positions on human rights and
democracy issues and look at opportunities for co-sponsoring resolutions on thematic
issues in relevant fora such as UN Commission on Human Rights or UNGA Third
Committee and look together for possible synergies and initiatives to promote human
rights and democracy (European Commission 2004 (b)). Despite these exhortations,
there was no reference to democracy promotion in the joint statements from the next
three summits (2006, 2007 and 2008), the first Implementation Report of the Joint
Action Plan (2005), or the new Joint Action Plan (September
2008). Thus, on paper both sides have reiterated shared
India provides the developing world with a model
values of democracy and pluralism, but in practice there
of a democracy which zealously protects its
has been little coordination on any of these goals (Radha
democratic processes through its own means.
Kumar 2008: 23)

2. India
India has exerted some degree of influence on democracy in developing countries
because its pre-independence leadership had a strong commitment to democratic values
(Gupta 2006). During the Cold War, India did not have much value for democracy
as an organizing principle of international affairs as India found itself ranged against
the Western democracies on key issues. It attached more weight to the anti-Western
criterion than the internal democratic credentials of its Eastern and Third World friends
(Raja Mohan 1999). The Indian Government has not hesitated either to support
democratic movements or occasionally use military force beyond its borders [e.g. East
Pakistan] to defend what it considered to be universal values (Raja Mohan 2007: 113).
In recent years, it has emphasized the relevance of a pluralistic, liberal, multicultural
and multilingual India as a model of democratic practice to the world (Manmohan
Singh 2004a).

India has been able to achieve economic development and poverty reduction while
remaining a liberal, secular, multi-religious democracy, thereby offering an alternative to
the Chinese model of development-without-democracy (Malik 2009: 188189). India
can use its influence to support democracy more actively in other countries. However,
it has not developed a policy of democracy promotion in its foreign policy. It has only
been willing to promote democracy passively or as part of a larger group and has been
reluctant to assume a leadership role (Dormandy 2007: 125). India does not believe in
either the export of ideology or the imposition of democracy or democratic values on
any country (Saran 2006). Being a firm believer in sovereignty and non-interference in

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internal affairs, India does not advocate either diplomatic
In a significant departure from its traditional focus activism or any form of political interventionism to
on North-South issues, India for the first time strengthen democracy in the world (Manmohan Singh
supported the notion of promoting democracy 2004b).
at the UN when it supported the United Nations
Democracy Fund in September 2005.
India is one of ten founding members of the Community
of Democracies, launched in 1999 as an international
coalition of the democratic countries to foster cooperation
for the protection and consolidation of democracy (Indian
Ministry of External Affairs 2002). India went along cautiously with the US initiative
but was not prepared to invest significant political or diplomatic energies into it (Raja
Mohan 2007: 105). In a significant departure from its traditional focus on North-
South issues, India for the first time supported the notion of promoting democracy at
the UN when it supported the United Nations Democracy Fund in September 2005.
India is the second largest contributor to the Fund after the USA. In its quest for energy
sources in Africa and Latin America, India, unlike China, does not pursue this policy
to the detriment of democracy or human rights (Dormandy
2007: 125), although commitment to such norms may at
For India, democracy building also signifies that some point conflict with national interests of energy security
the structures of global governance, including the (Wagner 2006: 8).
G-8, the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund and the United Nations Security Council, For India, democracy building also signifies that the
be made more representative and legitimate. structures of global governance, including the G-8, the
To most stakeholders in India, Europe is clearly World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and
overrepresented but is in no hurry to reduce the United Nations Security Council, be made more
its overrepresentation. representative and legitimate. To most stakeholders in India,
Europe is clearly overrepresented but is in no hurry to reduce
its overrepresentation.

Indian aid for Democracy Building


India shares its rich experience, institutional capabilities and training infrastructure
with nations that share its values and beliefs and which request its assistance and
expertise in the areas of electoral management and administration, electoral law and
electoral reform. The Election Commission of India has also provided experts and
observers for elections to other countries in cooperation with the United Nations and
the Commonwealth secretariat (Election Commission of India 2008). In 2004, the
Election Commission of India signed an MoU to assist the UN Electoral Assistance
Division and offered help to fledgling democracies with personnel and expertise to
build and administer institutions that can function as election observers.

India, for example, is one of the top donors to Afghanistan, providing development aid
of over USD1 billion. This includes democracy assistance, inter alia, for the construction
of the new Afghan Parliament building, training of parliamentary officials, support for
the elections to the Constitutional Loya Jirga, and so on (Indian Ministry of External
Affairs, n.d.).

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3. Pakistan
Historically, democracy in Pakistan has been weak
Historically, democracy in Pakistan has been weak and
and not given a proper chance to grow roots and
not given a proper chance to grow roots and develop.
develop. Parliamentary elections have been marked
Parliamentary elections have been marked by low turnouts
by low turnouts and those elected did not truly
and those elected did not truly represent the Pakistani
represent the Pakistani people.
people (European Commission n.d. (a): 9 and 25). Pakistan
is a federal parliamentary democracy, but with strong army
influence (European Commission n.d. (b): 6). The military
has ruled Pakistan for 35 of its 61 years as an independent
state.

In the wake of General Pervez Musharrafs coup detat in October 1999, the EU cancelled
its annual political dialogue and further progress on improving relations was made
contingent on tangible progress towards the restoration of representative democracy in
Pakistan based on a clear and credible timetable (Patten 2001: 150). The EU reduced
aid and suspended the signing of a new trade and cooperation agreement.

Soon after he came to power, General Musharraf argued that he intended to move
Pakistan from sham democracy to true democracy. There had never been real
democracy in Pakistan because democracy is certainly not having elected governments,
but how an elected government behaves. To him, there was no rebuilding of
democracy, but the building of democracy (Musharraf 2001; Talbot 2002). According
to Sayyid, those who claim to believe in democracy do not wish to practice it, and those
who claim not to believe in democracy promise to implement it (Sayyid 2005).

In November 2001, shortly after the events of 11 September 2001, Pakistans strategic
location in a volatile region and its role as an important ally in the so-called war on
terrorism prompted the EU to sign a trade and cooperation agreement. One month
later, Brussels granted zero duty on Pakistani textiles, which accounted for 60 per cent
of Pakistans exports to the EU, under its Generalised Tariff Preferences. It is estimated
that this yielded additional export earnings of USD1 billion in the three years to
December 2004. The European Commission also rapidly adopted a five-year (2002
2006) cooperation strategy with Pakistan, covering all aspects of assistance, including
EUR 165 million of indicative financing. For 20072013, the Commission quadrupled
its annual allocation to Pakistan from EUR 15 million to EUR 60 million. When
Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November 2007, the EU expressed its deep
concern but did not impose any sanctions.

The EUs policy on democracy in Pakistan was led sometimes


The EUs policy on democracy in Pakistan was led
by pragmatists who favoured a realpolitik view of Pakistan
sometimes by pragmatists who favoured a real
and its utility in the fight against terrorism and sometimes
politik view of Pakistan and its utility in the
by pro-democracy hardliners, especially in the European
fight against terrorism and sometimes by pro-
Parliament, who wanted democracy and the rule of law to be
democracy hardliners, especially in the European
given top priority. The war against terrorism weakened the
Parliament, who wanted democracy and the
commitment to democracy and human rights in countries
rule of law to be given top priority.
which were valuable allies.

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4. Nepal
In Nepal, the EU took an active interest and played a proactive role in the restoration of
parliamentary democracy after the assassination of the ruling monarch and the Maoist
insurgency led to a virtual civil war from 2004. India facilitated a peace process in
Nepal in coordination with the USA, the United Kingdom, the EU and the UN. In
November 2005, India brokered a 12-point agreement between the Maoists and the
Seven Party Alliance of constitutional political parties, which called for an end to the
autocratic monarchy, and parliamentary democracy and elections to a Constituent
Assembly. The agreement enabled India and the international community to exert
pressure on the King to restore the parliament in April 2006.

Of the total EU budget of EUR 70 million for the period 20022006, the EU allocated
EUR 10 million to Nepal for the consolidation of democracy, improving the judicial
system and conflict mitigation packages to defuse the conflict (National Indicative
Programme (2002-2006): 6, in European Commission n.d. (a)). However, in the wake of
the royal takeover in 2005, the EU suspended all programming activities and the launch
of new projects was put on hold. An ad hoc commitment of EUR 7 million was made
to support the Peoples Movement and Nepals return to democracy. This essentially
sought to ensure the capacity of the Nepali National Human Rights Commission to
monitor human rights violations. In November 2006, the Maoists and the Seven Party
Alliance signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Alliance formed an interim
government, which subsequently oversaw elections in April 2008.

5. Myanmar
Sanctions and political isolation have been the major policy instruments used by the
EU in dealing with the military junta in Myanmar. It imposed an arms embargo in
1990, and suspended defence cooperation and all bilateral aid except for humanitarian
aid in 1991. However, for more than a decade thereafter the EU neither imposed trade
sanctions nor sought to ban investment in the country. It was only in 2004 that the EU
prohibited European companies from investing in some state-owned enterprises, but
these sanctions did not apply to existing investment.

Sanctions against Myanmar have been counterproductive in moving it towards


democracy. Strict coercion or a combination of carrots and sticks may work better
with smaller countries that have less ability to resist influence from major powers and
want continued integration with the world community (Li and Drury 2007: 392).
Foreign involvement in the form of financial aid and moral support for the opposition
aimed at accelerating the pace of democratization has made the military government
hypersensitive and resulted in it consolidating its position (Guo 2007:72). Attempts by
the EU to gain multilateral support through regional organizations and Myanmars
neighbours have also been unsuccessful. The EU has found
it impossible to impose sanctions through the UN Security
Myanmar has become a permanent topic of EU Council without Chinese agreement.
concern and the EU has become increasingly
frustrated by the ineffectiveness of its coercive Myanmar has become a permanent topic of EU concern
policy of political isolation and sanctions in and the EU has become increasingly frustrated by the
moving Myanmar towards democracy. ineffectiveness of its coercive policy of political isolation and
sanctions in moving Myanmar towards democracy.

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6. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established in
December 1985. It seeks to accelerate economic and social development in the member
states through joint action in certain agreed areas of cooperation on the basis of the
principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-
interference in internal affairs and mutual benefit.

The first enlargement of SAARC was in 2007 through the inclusion of Afghanistan
as its eighth member and the admission of six observers (China, the EU, Iran, Japan,
Republic of Korea and the USA). This underscores the potential of and growing interest
in SAARC.

Box 2. The SAARC Charter

The SAARC Charter seeks, among other things, and contentious issues from the deliberations of the
to accelerate economic growth, social progress Association. Bilateral issues have, however, been
and cultural development in the region; promote discussed at the margin of summits and ministerial
active collaboration and mutual assistance in the meetings. The institutional set-up comprises annual
economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific summits, a Council of Ministers responsible for the
fields; and to cooperate with international and formulation of policy and reviewing progress and
regional organizations with similar aims and a Standing Committee of Foreign Secretaries to
purposes. The SAARC Charter excludes bilateral monitor and coordinate programmes.

Democracy Building in SAARC


The promotion of democracy is not specifically mentioned as an objective in the SAARC
Charter. India maintains that the restoration of democracy and allied political issues
do not fall within the ambit of the SAARC agenda (Ahmed 2005). Nor is democracy
building envisaged in the MoU between the European Commission and the SAARC
secretariat. Internal problems and divisions within SAARC have prevented any effective
implementation of or much effective cooperation on the
MoU (SAARC secretariat 2000:13; European Commission
n.d.(d)). The financial part of the MoU has not been The inherent constraints of SAARC make it difficult

implemented. to contemplate regional projects in the politically


sensitive areas of democracy building and human
The inherent constraints of SAARC make it difficult to rights. The SAARC Charter does, however, permit
contemplate regional projects in the politically sensitive the formation of action committees to deal with
areas of democracy building and human rights. The areas of activity in which all members may not
SAARC Charter does, however, permit the formation of have an equal interest.
action committees to deal with areas of activity in which
all members may not have an equal interest. It is therefore
possible to encourage the development of specific projects which are relevant to the
individual needs of three or more member states (Rodrigo 1999: 19). For example, in
February 1999 the election commissioners of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka met
in Kathmandu to exchange views on how democratic processes in their countries could
be strengthened.

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7. Democracy Building: Theory and Practice in South Asia
South Asia is a region where democracy preceded nation- and state-building. It therefore
does not conform to the European ideal, making the challenges of democratization
more difficult (Gurharpal Singh 2003: 221). In South Asia, elite inertia rather than
overt hostility to political reforms is the main constraint to democratization (Gurharpal
Singh 2003: 227).

The EU has preferred a bottom-up approach that essentially


The EU has preferred a bottom-up approach that concentrates on civil society and NGOs, which have been
essentially concentrates on civil society and NGOs, the main channels and recipients of aid from the European
which have been the main channels and recipients Commission. The enthusiasm for the role of civil society
of aid from the European Commission. derives chiefly from it being perceived as key to the implosion
of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
Union and to the subsequent transition to democracy there.
In the literature on democracy promotion, this approach has been subject to two main
criticisms: first, it tends to narrowly identify civil society with NGOs, especially the
Western-advocacy type of NGO, and to de-emphasize the role of institutions. Second,
it enables the EU to avoid tackling controversial issues with partner countries while
maintaining the profile of an international actor keen on supporting human rights
and democracy (Balfour 2006: 118119). Proponents of democracy promotion have
tended to regard civil society as the motor of regime change and the foundation for the
consolidation of democracy. But the lever of civil society has long been overvalued
and the difficulties of exerting influence on social processes have been underestimated
(Dauderstaedt and Lerch 2005: 170171). Some South Asian scholars even question
whether civil society can be politically manufactured in the ways that appear to
be implicit in some of the writing on democratization and explicit in the work of
multinational agencies engaged in development (Gurharpal Singh 2003: 224). Doubts
are expressed that while civil society may be a necessary condition of democracy, it
is not by itself sufficient and that while developing a civil society is crucial, it is no
panacea for democratization (Lovell 2007: 336, 340).

Furthermore, the underlying theory of Western democratic consolidation seems to be


that economic growth will help consolidate democracy while greater democracy will
provide the institutional underpinnings of sustained growth (Kapstein and Converse
2008: 65). However, India feels that there is no correlation, much less causation, between
democracy and development since many democracies perform well in developmental
terms as do non-democratic societies. Democracy should not be viewed as a means to
an end, namely development, but as an end in itself because it empowers people and
unleashes individual creativity (Manmohan Singh 2005c, quoting Dr Mahbub ul Haq,
UNDP).

A key challenge, according to some South Asian analysts, is that modern democracy
and democratic institutions have been transplanted to South Asia and have not evolved
through the political, economic and cultural processes that combined to give birth to
democracy in developed countries which over time were able to create an active civil
society, and the value systems and the rules of the game that discipline the contest
for power. South Asia has taken over the institutions and the systems without the
processes, the value systems and the culture in which they had evolved (Gunatillake
2001: 109). The Western liberal democratic paradigm has been inadequate in dealing

12
with the complexity of the multitude of religio-cultural and ethnic identities and
immense linguistic and cultural diversity in the region (Gunatillake 2001: 111113).

The nurturing and consolidation of democratic institutions and processes in South Asia
will essentially be done by domestic actors. In the ultimate analysis, the responsibility
for initiating and implementing the multitude of structural, economic, social and
political reforms necessary to institutionalize democracy
must be taken by South Asians themselves. External players A key challenge, according to some South Asian
can only play a supportive role and their capacities to bring analysts, is that modern democracy and demo-
about fundamental change are necessarily limited. The cratic institutions have been transplanted to South
coming to power of elected governments in a number of Asia and have not evolved through the political,
South Asian countries in 2008 is the beginning, not the economic and cultural processes that combined to
end, of the process of consolidating and sustaining fragile give birth to democracy in developed countries.
democracies in the region.

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About the Author


Professor Rajendra K. Jain has been teaching European studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru
University (JNU), New Delhi, India for over 22 years. He is Professor of European
Studies and Chairperson, Centre for European Studies (CES) at JNU. He is also
Secretary-General, Indian Association for European Union Studies (IAEUS) and Guest
Faculty at the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. He

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was formerly Director at the Europe Area Studies Programme, CES (August 2005July
2006; March-August 2007).

Professor Jain has lectured extensively on political science, focusing on contemporary


Europe and India-Europe/EU affairs. He is the author/editor of more than 30 books
and publishes articles and chapters regularly. He received his PhD in European Studies
at the Centre for American and West European Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
in 1985.

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