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Seminar on Indian Elections 2019

Press Release

Seminar on Indian Elections 2019

The High Commission of India in collaboration with Canada-India Centre for Excellence, Carleton University organized a seminar on "Indian Elections 2019” on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 at the Carleton University, Ottawa in order to promote greater awareness about the strengths of Indian democracy. More than 85 representatives from Global Affairs Canada, academic institutions, Canadian Agencies and think tanks attended the seminar.

2. High Commissioner Vikas Swarup delivered the keynote address. Two panel discussions were held on the following topics: i) Overview of the Indian Democracy – strength and Resilience; and ii) Possible Outcomes and Impact on the Canada-India relationship. Speakers for panel discussions included Shri Arun Kumar Sahu, Deputy High Commissioner, Dr. Stanley Winer, Professor, Carleton University, Ms. Gillian Frost, Executive Director, Global Affairs Canada, Dr. Pradeep Merchant, Chair, Canada-India Centre Governing Council. Two of the panelists joined from India via Skype – Dr. Anil Varughese, Assistant Professor, Carleton University, Ms. Nivedita Mukherjee, Director, Indo-Canadian Business Council.

3. Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President of the Carleton University delivered the opening remarks. He underlined the solid foundations of India democracy and emphasized the need for stronger institutional linkages between India & Canada and enhanced people-to-people contacts.

4. High Commissoner gave an overview of the electoral process in India, the largest democratic exercise in history, and outlined the successive challenges India had successfully faced since independence. He highlighted magnitude of holding free and fair elections with an electorate of 900 million voters using 2.33 million EVMs. He underscored that Indian democracy has consistently been driven by accommodation of competing interests and flexibility to adapt to changing situations. That is why it has always risen to the occasion in testing times.

5. DHC spoke about strength and resilience of our democracy giving an overview of the safeguards and checks in the Constitution of India which helps in sustenance of democratic principles. He explained the underlying principles which has guided the Constiution drafting Committee to bring together all citizens and give everyone a common platform fully respecting India’s tremendous diversity. Dr. Stanley Winer drew upon his experience of mapping Indian elections between 1972 and 2009 to demonstrate the high degree of political choice in India and the salience of issues of concern to ordinary voters. Ms. Frost remarked that immediately after the Indian General Eelection there would be the Federal election in Canada, set to take place in October 2019. While this would have an impact on high level political visits, engagement at the level of officials and experts would continue. She expressed the hope that once the post-election governments are in place the pace of bilateral engagement will increase, together with trade which is already showing a healthy growth. Dr. Varughese gave his on-ground assessment of the prevalent electoral mood during and after first phase of polling in India and prospects of the major political parties in different southern states. Ms. Nivedita Mukherjee underscored the tremendous potential for trade and investment between India and canada. She also spoke about India’s impressive record of economic growth and fast pace of the ongoing transformation in India and the tremendous jump in its position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index.

6. The discussions underscored India's exceptional record as the world's largest democracy, fastest growing major economy, which have made it a shining example for the rest of the world. A few photos of the event are attached.


18 April 2019

Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President of the Carleton University

High Commissioner giving an overview of the electoral process in India.

Panel Discussion: Overview of Indian democracy-Strength and Resilience. Panelists- Deputy High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu and Dr. Stanley Winer

Panel discussion: Possible Outcomes and Impact of the Indian Election on the Canada-India relationship. Panelists- Ms. Gillian Grost, ED, Global Affairs Canada and Dr. Pradeep Merchant, Chair, Canada-India Centre Governing Council.

Q & A session

High Commissioner responding during Q&A session

Q & A session