Indian elections: Gearing up for a "new" India?


“Expectations on Prime Minister Narendra Modi are sky-high”, said Shishir Kumar Bajoria, Chairman of the IFGL Group, India atFriends of Europe policy insight on 12 June. With a turnout of 66,4% and a large participation of women and youth, the Indian elections channelled a pressing demand for political and social change. According to Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri “voters made a clear choice in favour of a strong and united India”. On the international front, “the EU hopes to revive the trade partnership negotiations, despite the “look East” approach of Narendra Modi’s initial foreign policy moves”, said Neena Gill, MEP for the Labour Party West Midlands.

Amid mounting expectations for a “new India” era under the BJP mandate, will Modi’s government live up to the promise of prosperity and growth for all? Underpinning a lively discussion were issues of economic development, urbanisation, social justice and foreign policy facing India in the five years ahead.

Indian elections: gearing up for a new India?



India’s post-election direction matters – to the future of the country but also to a closely-watching world. Whoever gets to lead the world’s largest democracy will have to tackle an array of challenges including the massive task of economic reform. Persistent high inflation, infrastructure bottlenecks, rampant corruption and regulatory hurdles continue to hamper the country’s potential. With growth hovering at a decade-long low, reforms are essential for India to meet the demands of its rising middle class which also wants social change and improvements in the status of women. What are the priorities of the new leadership? How is the government planning to restore investor confidence and stimulate long-term economic growth? What are the main roadblocks to reform? How will the election results impact on India’s foreign policy? Will the new government adopt a tougher line in relations with its neighbours? What does the election outcome mean for the future of EU-India relations? Can negotiations on a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) gain new momentum?



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Neena Gill

Member of European Parliament

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A fomer MEP, Neena has just been elected again after topping the Labour Party’s election list in the West Midlands. During her previous mandate, she was the Chair of the Delegation for Relations with India as well as the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia and the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). She was Vice President for Corporate Affairs Europe and Asia Pacific at SAS.

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Gauri Khandekar

Researcher and Head of Agora Asia-Europe Programme at FRIDE

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Gauri has published extensively on EU-India relations at FRIDE, a Madrid-based think tank. Prior to her current position, she worked on India-related issues at the European Parliament and the Directorate-General for External Relations of the European Commission. She has a wide-range of professional experience, having work for a consultancy firm as well as a development and social welfare NGO in India.

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Shishir Kumar Bajoria

Chairman of the IFGL Group, India

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An experienced businessman, Shishir Kumar is the Chairman of the IFGL Group. He is the promoter of the S K Bajoria Group, which is engaged in diversified business activities including manufacturing. He was previously President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata and Honorary Consul of Denmark in the same city. He was also Director of Industrial Promotion & Investment Corporation of Orissa, a northeastern state.



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