Assessment on India’s counter to International criticism

Synopsis: India needs to address the international criticism of declining democratic values. It will strengthen the world’s largest democracy further.


Many countries are scrutinising the functioning of Indian democracy due to the alleged diminishing democratic space in India. For example,

  • Recently, annual reports of the United States-based Freedom House and the Sweden-based V-Dem Institute downgraded India from a free democracy to a “partially free democracy”.
  • Similarly, issues of Farmer’s safety and freedom of press have been debated in the British Parliament.
  • Despite these criticisms, India has countered its critics strongly displaying hard sovereignty.
  • By countering the critics India has missed out to address the fundamental point of the critics, that human dignity and freedom are universal.

How India has responded to the criticism of eroding democratic values in India?

  1. First, India has resorted to the new approach of Emphasizing hard sovereignty. It has repeatedly mentioned that the issues mentioned are internal to India.
  2. Second, countering the criticisms aggressively.
  3. Third, India’s statements from high-level offices are being fine-tuned to silence the critics.
  4. Consider the following examples,
      • One, to counter U. K’s criticism, India took up the issue of racism in the UK, and discussed it in the Rajya Sabha. It pointed out systemic racism in the UK.
      • Two, similarly, India’s External Affairs Minister highlighted the lack of public trust in the electoral process of western countries. Example the U.S
      • Three, The high-level statements are getting fine-tuned to counter the allegations and to assert the autonomy of Indian institutions. For example, the statement from the Indian High Commission in London mentioned India’s well-established independent democratic institutions.
      • Four, India’s response to the celebrity tweets was also aggressive. A statement by the Ministry of External Affairs referred to international critics as ‘fringe elements and linked them to the desecration of Gandhi statues.
How the global situation is aiding India to counter international criticism aggressively?
  • First, the Pandemic has helped India to engage in ‘vaccine diplomacy’ and has positioned India in a central role in global politics. The goodwill generated by ‘Vaccine Maitri’ has been used to counter the criticisms. For example, India’s has supplied critical health aid to 70 countries.
  • Second, the crisis within western democracies has damaged their reputation, privilege, and their moral right to criticize other countries.
  • Third, the growing significance of India for economic, environmental, and geopolitical reasons give India considerable space for an aggressive response.
  • Fourth, India’s conservative allies in western countries have also helped to undermine international criticism. For example, in October 2019, right-wing Members of the European Parliament visited Kashmir and gave a clean chit to the government against the allegation of human rights issues in J&K.
Evaluation of India’s response to international criticism?
  • India’s response has been good with respect to limiting the cultural arrogance of the west and their ‘knowledge imperialism’.
  • But India has failed to address the fundamental point of the critics. That, human dignity and freedoms are universal and an assault on them anywhere is an assault on them everywhere.

Source: The Hindu

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