Activities of the KAS India Office

India was one of the first Asian countries to introduce country-related programmes initiated by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). In more than 40 years of cooperation, a wide range of activities were undertaken at different levels: poverty alleviation in rural areas, capacity building of local government institutions, training for small and medium scale enterprises in North and South India, programmmes for judicial reforms, civil society initiatives and seminars related to the concept of rule of law. Various economic and value-oriented dialogues were held and high ranking exchanges on the subject of international relations and security policy have been established. The history of the activities of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in India reflects not only the changing priorities of the country’s development strategies but also India’s gradual rising political and economic status in the region as well as its emergence as a global power.

From the early stages onwards it has been the endeavour of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to promote a greater understanding between Europe and India as well as to widen and deepen the people-to-people links between Germany, India and the EU. The KAS wants to contribute to a broadened Indo-German and Indo-European dialogue, to sustain an exchange of ideas and experiences and, last but not least, to enhance the mutual visibility – beyond the government-to-government relations.

India and Europe have much in common. They share the same core values of democracy, pluralism, human rights, rule of law as well as the promotion of an independent judiciary and media. Both form stable examples of multi-lingual, multi-religious and multicultural societies. Furthermore, India and Europe are both faced by global threats like climate change and non-proliferation and recognise their responsibilities in a world that needs better coordinated global governance. A strong and mutually benefitting partnership between Europe and India will enable both partners to address these global challenges with more success. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recognizes India and Europe as natural partners. In the context of the Eleventh EU-India-Summit he has stated that: “there is a high degree of convergence of our views on global issues. I will seek to deepen our political and strategic cooperation.” Being India’s largest trading partner, it is India’s dynamic growth that gives Europe an increasingly special position as a unique economic partner.

Over the years the India-EU relations have developed substantially and grown exponentially. The focus shifted from a purely trade and economic driven relationship, towards new forms of political and strategic partnership with growing areas of co-operation. The Fifth India-EU Summit in The Hague on 8th November 2004 was historic in that respect because it endorsed the proposal to upgrade the India-EU relationship to the level of a ‘Strategic Partnership’. The following Sixth Summit in New Delhi a year later laid out a coherent framework comprising a ‘Joint Action Plan’ (JAP) to attain the full potential of partnership and cooperation. It provides a concrete agenda and is the unique core of EU -India relations. The JAP emphasizes the objective to build strategic working relationships on the political as well as the economic levels. Since its adoption the cooperation between India and the EU has further deepened. New challenges that have arisen since the formulation of the JAP have been accounted with its revision in 2008 at the Ninth Summit to ensure further progress in the coming period and promote new activities like promoting peace and comprehensive security and sustainable development. After the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, the eleventh meeting in 2010 was the first summit under the new European Foreign and Security Policy.

The development of KAS - Programmes in India

In the light of the ongoing changes and developments in India, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has intensified its programmes related to topics on EU-India relations in New Delhi and extended its activities to different parts of the country. A range of issues of mutual interest have been taken up through seminars, round table talks and dialogues with high ranking German individuals and European and Indian politicians. Distinguished Members of the German, European and Indian Parliaments have visited both countries. Furthermore, KAS has increased its collaboration with policy advisors, researchers from leading think-tanks and members from the civil society. Continuity and change have marked the engagement of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in India. While the first programmes were based on a developmental approach, they advanced over the years into a comprehensive agenda of inclusive cooperation to take up newly emerging challenges. Most importantly, after four decades of active presence in India the KAS established a comprehensive network of partner organisations and strategic collaborations.

From 1968 till 1980s

In the first phase of operations from 1968 to the end of the eighties the joint activities of the KAS and its partners were concentrated on the then pressing developmental needs of India. Insofar the projects covered rural development, poverty alleviation, technical training and skill development of the rural youth as well as the establishment of self-help groups for the disadvantaged sectors of society. Project cooperations were entered with Vishwa Yuvak Kendra in New Delhi, the Rama Krishna Mission in Kolkata, the Indian Institute for Youth Welfare in Nagpur, the Yuvak Vikas Trust in Ahmedabad and the Institute for Youth and Development in Bangalore.

From 1980s till 2000

The second phase from the end of the eighties till the beginning of the new millennium was characterised by an active enlargement of the projects. New training programs for the Panchayati Raj and elected village councils were taken up with the Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship and Technical Education (CREATE ) in Lucknow and the All India Santal Welfare and Cultural Society (AI SWA CS) in West Bengal. Special attention was given to coalition building with rural NGO ’s. Furthermore, Training of Trainers-programmes in pro-poor advocacy started with the Independent Commission for Peoples Rights and Development (ICPRD) in New Delhi. In order to promote small and medium enterprises in India, to foster entrepreneurial start ups of new businesses and to bring them in line with the opening up of India’s new economic policy the KAS initiated additional projects with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi as well as the Madras Management Association (MMA) in Chennai. Dialogues were conducted in cooperation with the Centre for Public Affairs (CPA), the Rashtriya Jagriti Sansthan, the Society for Peace, Security and Development Studies and the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA). Furthermore, issues related to European integration were taken up with the Centre for European Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Delegation of the European Commission in Delhi. Topics of Indo-German relevance were dealt with in cooperation with the Federation of Indo-German Sciences (FIGS).

From 2000 onwards

In 2003 the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung enhanced and partly restructured its country concept for India. Building upon past achievements successful projects were carried on and incorporated in new programmes and cooperations. In formulating the new concept the KAS took into consideration India’s emergence as a regional and global power, the increasingly important role that India plays across a wide range of global affairs as well as the deep rooted process of reform, transformation and change the country is still undergoing. The new concept is built on the “Agenda for Indo-German Partnership” of the year 2000 and integrated elements of the joint declaration of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (2006) on the “strategic partnership” to further deepen the bilateral relations between India and Germany in various fields. Nowadays, five working areas of the Foundation can be identified: 1. Foreign and Security Policy, 2. Economic and Energy Politics, 3. Rule of Law, 4. Social and Political Change and local Self-Government and 5. educational seminars for students of journalism. For these purposes new partners have extended their cooperation, such as the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), the United Service Institution of India (USI), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) as well as the Confederation of Indian Bar (CIB) and the Centre of the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Furthermore, institutions such as the C.R. Irani Foundation to promote the Statesman School of Print Journalism joined the network of the Indian partners of KAS. Specifically, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung wants to contribute by:

  • assisting India in its process of social, structural and political transformation based on democracy, the rule of law and secularism;
  • strengthening economic reforms, the small and medium business sector and an effective market economy as well as supporting the integration of India into the global economy and the process of globalisation;
  • promoting local self-governance in rural areas and fostering grass roots democracy;
  • intensifying the dialogue between Germany, Europe in general and India as well as other major powers, especially on current foreign and security policy and
  • promoting the education of young print journalists.