India-Sweden Strategic Compass, Vol.3, No.1, January-February 2024

Newsletter March, 2024, Vol.3, No.1, January-February 2024

How are India and Sweden positioning themselves in the year 2024? The year 2024 is historic in terms of elections being held throughout the world. About half of the world’s population is expected to vote, with more than 60 countries holding elections. This includes India (likely in April/May) and the EU (June) going for parliamentary elections. The US elections in November are eagerly awaited, too, not least because of the potential Joe Biden-Donald Trump contest.

Some consequential polls in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Taiwan, for example, have already indicated the trends for democracy. In Bangladesh, the controversial return of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is good news for India-Bangladesh ties, which have been on the rise despite China’s clout. For Sweden, too, it would mean a consistent policy with Bangladesh, with which Sweden has “multifaceted and growing” ties.

In Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest democracy, former Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto’s win, with a rebranded image, might likely lead to pragmatic policies amid an expansionist China and a fragile Indo-Pacific. PM Modi’s post-election message highlights that the two sides will strengthen their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

However, it is in Taiwan that the democratic process has truly been boosted with the return of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as Lai Ching-te secured a historic third consecutive win for his party. India, which has just signed a migration and mobility pact with Taiwan, has been positive about the ties with Taiwan taking a more strategic orientation, highlighted by India’s representative to Taiwan praising Taiwan’s democratic resilience. The EU, too, has offered its congratulations to the DPP. Sweden’s 2024 foreign policy statement highlights a common European approach in terms China policy. Sweden has also called out China’s “conduct” toward Taiwan as worrisome. However, for both India and Sweden, the lack of diplomatic ties with Taiwan is unlikely to change, as that would destabilize the Indo-Pacific as a whole.

Finally, with India’s ruling party majorly expected to win the upcoming national elections, India’s ties with Sweden, as well as with the NB8 and the EU, are likely to continue on the upward trajectory in 2024 and beyond.

Read the SCSA-IPA’s bi-monthly Newsletter- India-Sweden Strategic Compass- to understand how India and Sweden are positioning themselves in 2024.

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