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New podcast zooms in on democracy in India

Logotyp av Indien podden

On August 12, 2021, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs’ (UI) South Asia Initiative and Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University released Indienpodden (the India Podcast) which brings experts from South Asia and Sweden together to discuss different aspects of democracy in India and the South Asian region. The podcast is targeted to a Swedish audience and mainly produced in Swedish.

India is the world’s second most populous country and is commonly referred to as its largest democracy. Still, general knowledge about developments in the country remains low. Indienpodden is an initiative that aims at raising awareness on issues related to India and the South Asian region, by circling in on the state of democracy in India. 

Deepened ties between India, Sweden, and the EU, means that political developments in the region reaches far beyond Indian borders and brings consequences to our side of the globe. Not least as Swedish companies are increasingly dependent on the skills and competences from Indian IT-workers, as well as the global reliance on India for vaccine production as the world is getting vaccinated against Covid-19. Thus, there’s an immediate need to deepen the understanding on India in Sweden.

“Indo-Swedish cooperation is becoming increasingly important for Sweden and Swedish businesses. Meanwhile, the knowledge on political developments and structures in India remains low in our country. Also, reporting on India in Swedish media tend to display a very one-sided portrait of the country. We hope to change this narrative, and begin by shining light on a crucial question: the state of democracy in India and its conditions.

According to some, democracy in India is facing its greatest crisis since independence. In 2021, both Freedom House and Sweden-based V-Dem Institute released reports stating that democracy in India is in decline, degrading India to a “partly free” democracy and an “electoral autocracy” respectively. The question of the state of democracy in India has divided the country: while some hold that human rights are under severe threat, others believe that democracy is flourishing, as old power structures are being tested and remodeled. 
In Indienpodden, recent developments are being discussed and debated with South Asian journalists, researchers, and activists, with opinions reflecting a wide spectrum of political thought in the region. The podcast will cover themes such as academic freedom, fake news, social media as a political driver, and provide an outlook on India post Covid-19. Swedish experts are invited to put South Asian developments in European and Swedish perspectives. 

Indienpodden is mainly produced in Swedish, although interviews with non-Swedish experts are in English. Five episodes will be released monthly until December 2021. The podcast is available at Podcaster, Spotify, Soundcloud, Acast, and Google Podcasts.