UCF India Center Hosts Conference on “India – Growth, Challenges, and Opportunities”

A group of people seated at tables, attentively listening to a presentation.

The India Center at UCF held its inaugural one-day in-person conference on “India – Growth, Challenges, and Opportunities” on April 12, 2024. Experts from think tanks and academia participated on panels on international relations and security, subnational governance, and sustainable development in India. The conference was attended by UCF students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members.

The conference focused on major issues in contemporary India. India, home to a population exceeding 1.4 billion people, recently surpassed China as the most populous country in the world. Rapid population growth comes with challenges but also provides opportunities. From an international security perspective, India’s role is crucial for regional and global stability, and India is a strategic partner for the United States. India is constituted of 28 states, and numerous aspects of governance are administered at the subnational level. At the same time, India also faces challenges and opportunities regarding sustainable development as it combines population growth with economic growth. 

The first panel discussed India and international security. Chritopher Clary, Ph.D., University of Albany, SUNY, presented his research on “Strategic Calculations and Public Opinion in Interstate Crisis: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in India.” Yogesh Joshi, Ph.D., National University of Singapore, discussed his insights on “India’s Approach to Use of Force in International Politics: Before and After Modi.Mohamed Zeeshan, India Policy Initiative, The Carter Center, explored “The Centrality of Democratic Values to India’s Rise as an Emerging Power.” The session was moderated by Nikola Mirilovic, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs at UCF.

The second panel featured presentations on subnational governance and public service delivery in India. Aditya Dasgupta, Ph.D., University of California, Merced, examined “The Political Economy of Bureaucratic Assignments: Micromotives and Macrobehavior in India’s Land Administration.” Tanu Kumar, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, discussed “Democratizing Bureaucracy: Citizen Claim-Making and Local Government Responsiveness in Rural India.” Anjali Thomas, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, presented her research on “Getting on the Grid: The Politics of Public Service Formalization in Urban India.” The session was moderated by Andrew Sullivan, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Public Administration at UCF.

The third panel focused on sustainable development in India. Vyoma Jha, Ph.D., Natural Resources Defense Council, presented her research on “From India to the World: A New Paradigm for Sustainability.” Praveen Kumar, Ph.D., Boston College, discussed “Unpacking Adoption and Sustained Use of Social Policy Interventions: Cases of PMUY and PMJDY.” Anmol Soni, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, offered insights on “Facilitating Energy Transitions in Rural India: A Governance and Design Perspective.” The panel was moderated by Jacopo Baggio, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs at UCF.

Richard Rossow, Senior Adviser and Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, presented the keynote luncheon address on “The Promise of a U.S. – India Partnership.” James Bacchus, Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs and Director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at UCF, served as moderator.

“The India Center’s inaugural conference India – Growth, Challenges, and Opportunities was a resounding success,” said Bruce Wilson, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs. “The one-day conference sparked meaningful discussion between some of the world’s leading scholars of the politics of India, faculty, students and staff from UCF and the broader community. We very much looking forward to next year’s event.”

The event was hosted by the UCF India Center and co-sponsored by the College of Graduate Studies; the College of Sciences; the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs; the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity; and the Office of Global Perspectives and International Initiatives.  

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