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While India is undergoing rapid development, the level of knowledge about the country here in Norway is relatively low. Therefore, Kåkånomics invited Erik Solheim and Rina Sunder from DMI, together with Elisabeth Eie and Kalle Mallone to a debate about:

India's Politics and Economy - Why Should We Care?

The aim of the debate was to give a bird's eye overview of today's India and to look a bit ahead into the future.

The participants:

  • Elisabeth Eide has brought a lot of knowledge in through her book "India – på vei mot hindunasjonalisme", which she wrote together with Terje Skaufjord last year. She has traveled a lot around India and has gained all-round knowledge of the country, and especially the Hindu nationalist movement.
  • Rina Sunder has a lot of insight into trade, business, economics, and about India-Norway relations here. She has written the book "Det moderne India", about culture and business in India. Together with others, she founded DMI to give young and contemporary voices a platform to share their knowledge and thoughts about India-Norway relations.
  • Erik Solheim is a diplomat with a lot of international experience, especially in South Asia. From 2000 to 2005, he led the Sri Lankan peace process. In recent years, he has been concerned with Indian politics and has written positively about Modi and the modern India.
  • Kalle Moene is a pioneer in the economics discipline in Norway, and a frequent guest of Kåkånomics, since its inception seven years ago. This spring, he stood against Erik Solheim's perspective and what he believed was a glorification of India and Indian politics under Modi.

All in all, it was a varied and solid panel discussion that covered the domains of politics, economics, and culture/society.

Topics covered in the debate:

  • How have Modi and BJP shaped India in your opinion?
  • Economically - what is the big picture, what are the areas of focus?
  • India is a global economic player with a strong stock market. But is the economic growth as big as you hear?
  • Modi is very popular - but the support is different among different social groups and regions/states. Why?
  • What is the so-called Hindutva ideology? In what way is there a change or continuity from earlier nation-building/nationalism in India? Cultural changes? The relationship with Islam/religious minorities? Ideological history writing?
  • Is it a paradox that Hinduism, which has traditionally been very inclusive, now appears more exclusionary?
  • India is decreasing on the democracy index - what is the problem?
  • The great linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity - is it a strength or weakness?

We get a lot of requests about the streaming of events. Streaming did not occur for this debate nor for the Blue Economy and India seminar. However, we have uploaded the debate recordings on the podcast. 

About KÅKÅ|nomics: The point of KÅKÅ|nomics is to have economists explain to a broad audience how they see the world develop. Joining economists are psychologists, technologists, philosophers, historians, journalists, artists, politicians and comedians. The final product is enjoyed by laymen and professors alike. KÅKÅ|nomics is both a platform and a meeting place.

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