India Policy Initiative

The India Policy Initiative seeks to strengthen U.S.-India ties by highlighting the shared values on which the two countries’ partnership is based. The initiative publishes original research and engages with U.S. policymakers on key domestic developments in India. It analyzes the risks and opportunities that domestic trends in India pose for the partnership, and it proposes constructive solutions for more robust ties between the two countries.

"Our nations share the common goals of peace in the world and human development in our own societies. And we share as well the conviction that the means we employ to reach these goals must be as much in keeping with the principles of freedom, human dignity and social justice as are the goals themselves.

This affinity of belief is as strong a tie as there can be between two nations.-Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter
New Delhi, 1978


The India Policy Commentary Series features original insights from scholars, practitioners, and other experts on the U.S.-India relationship.

India's Role as an Emerging Power: Q&A with Kishore Mahbubani (Jan. 2, 2024)
What does India’s rise as an emerging power mean for the United States and the world? Kishore Mahbubani, former ambassador of Singapore to the United Nations, shares his insights on India's interests and aspirations and whether it will be a U.S. ally in counterbalancing China.

Two-Front War: The Spectral Versus Actual Threat for India (April 6, 2023)
Many analysts look to the possibility of a two-front war as one of India’s greatest strategic risks. Yogesh Joshi reexamines this idea, placing India’s relations with Pakistan and China in context, and considering how issues facing Indian democracy represent a neglected area of strategic analysis.

The U.S.-India Relationship: Of Acquiescence and Activism (Feb. 20, 2023)
Scholars Šumit Ganguly, Dinsha Mistree, and Larry Diamond team up to assess the U.S.-India relationship and the state of Indian democracy therein, offering advice for American policymakers looking to strengthen bilateral ties while promoting democratic values.

Diminished Rights but Robust Competition: Challenging Conventional Wisdom on India’s Democratic Backsliding (Feb. 16, 2023)
Two narratives are common in discussions on elections and democracy in India: that the Bharatiya Janata Party is unstoppable and that Indian democracy is backsliding. In this piece, Adam Ziegfeld challenges these narratives, indicating that rising illiberalism can coincide with competitive elections, and points toward what the future of Indian democracy may look like.

Democracy Promotion in a Time of War (Feb. 15, 2023)
What does it mean for the West to use foreign aid to promote democracy, especially under the shadow of Ukraine? Bann Seng Tan uses the case of India to demonstrate the strategic calculus which countries like the U.S. have at their disposal for democracy promotion in the face of the Russo-Ukrainian War and increasing risks to global democracy writ large.

Indian Democracy in Strategic Perspective: Q&A with Sushant Singh (Feb. 15, 2023) 
India Policy sits down with Sushant Singh to cover a range of questions on the strategic implications of India and its democracy given the country’s position on Ukraine, changing India-China ties, and regional stability.

What Democratic Backsliding Means for India: A Q&A with V-Dem’s Director and Program Manager (Feb. 10, 2023)
Following their 2022 report on the global state of democracy which described rising autocratization around the world, V-Dem’s Natalia Natsika and Prof. Staffan I. Lindberg discuss their assessment of India in this Q&A with The Carter Center’s India Policy initiative.

What Kind of Neighbor is India Becoming? (Feb. 9, 2023)
The impact of a country’s democratic health is often measured by its domestic effects. But how might a country’s democracy, especially if facing risks, have implications for its neighborhood? Yelena Biberman explores this question, among others, in this piece examining the relationship between India’s democratic health and its geopolitics.

Rising Rule of Law Risks in India (Feb. 9, 2023)
How does India fare in the latest data from the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2022? Ted Piccone, nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, considers rising risks to India’s rule of law in the face of the country’s democratic backsliding.

Democracy and the Political Dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (Dec. 9, 2022)
Political scientist Anjali Thomas unpacks the diverse means through which India’s Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has cultivated electoral strength and what implications this has for Indian democracy.

Groundwork for Democratic Partnership: President Carter and U.S.-India Ties (Dec. 8, 2022)
The Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander reflects on the role that President Jimmy Carter has played in ensuring democratic values remain fundamental to the U.S.-India relationship.

Containing Illiberalism: the U.S.-India Partnership and the Ukraine War (Nov. 18, 2022)
How should American policymakers think about recent developments in India around democracy and Ukraine? Political scientist Harry Verhoeven examines whether the U.S.’s conception of global geopolitics makes sense given rising illiberalism in India and diverging positions on Ukraine.

How Supporting Democracy Benefits the U.S.-India Partnership (Nov. 4, 2022)
In this joint commentary with CSIS, the Carter Center’s Vice President of Peace Programs, Barbara Smith, and Khosravi Chair in Principled Internationalism and Director of the Human Rights Initiative at CSIS, Marti Flacks, discuss that shared democratic values in the U.S.-India Partnership are not secondary to commercial ties but also bolster them.

The Strategic Context of the Enduring India-Russia Friendship (Oct. 27, 2022)
What is the future of India-Russia ties? Yale scholars David Engerman and Sandeep Bhardwaj look into past relations to imagine a path ahead—the first article in a series by The Carter Center’s new India Policy initiative.

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive India Policy updates via email.

Subscribe Now
Back To Top