It is axiomatic that India, as the largest practising democracy in the world and with over 60 years’ record of holding effective, transparent and credible elections, should play a leading role in promoting participatory democracy and election administration world-wide. There are huge opportunities for democracy promotion and electoral support particularly in the Arab world, Gulf countries, and Central Asian countries, which have still not established themselves as functional democracies. Further, Election Commission of India has also felt the need to continuously engage itself and others in generating innovative ideas and practices to respond to the emerging challenges in election management. This necessarily calls for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in promoting participatory democracy and best practices in election administration, professional contact and exchange activities, study and observation missions and technical support and advice.
Over the last decade, therefore, the Election Commission of India, has been making incremental efforts to promote inter-institutional contacts, and to provide technical support and user-friendly resources and advice to Election authorities elsewhere, on request. In the process, Election Commission of India has also acquired valuable learnings from its counterparts in other countries. This international cooperation outreach has been made in conjunction with India’s foreign policy objectives, to promote democracy and strengthen election administration world-wide.
The Indo-US Joint Declaration signed during US President Obama’s visit in November 2010, also spoke of a shared international partnership for democracy and development. As part of this agenda, the Joint Declaration pledged to explore cooperation in support of strengthening election organization and management in other interested countries. Mrs. Hillary Clinton, during her visit to India in 2011 as US Secretary of State referred to Election Commission of India, as the “Gold Standard” in election management worldwide.
During Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the ECI, a number of Election Management Authorities and delegations from participating countries evinced keen interest in the electoral technology including EVM operations in Indian elections, exploring whether the ECI could provide them technical assistance. Nepal, Bhutan and Namibia are now using Electronic Voting Machines manufactured in India. After Election Commission started annual celebrations of its National Voters Day in January 2011, countries such as Pakistan, Bhutan and Republic of Korea have also emulated this practice, and are observing their own National Voters Days to promote voter education and awareness.
Memoranda of Understanding have been concluded between Election Commission of India and Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of 16 other countries namely Australia, Bosnia, Brazil, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, Mauritius, Nepal Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Korea and Yemen and 2 multilateral organizations namely International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and United Nations to foster electoral cooperation and promotion/exchange of democratic norms and best practices.
Election Study teams for Assembly and General Elections in India, including 41 delegates from 17 countries for Election Visitors Programme for 2014 General Election.
Study/observation missions for Elections to countries such as Tanzania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Lesotho, Ecuador, Cambodia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Australia, Norway, Nepal, Sweden.
Exchange of more than 200 visits (approximately half of them incoming visits) during the last five years for exchange of experiences and skills, capacity building programmes, technical assistance, Conferences/Workshops and other events relating to democracy and election management.
Technical Assistance provided to Jordan, Maldives, Namibia, Egypt, Bhutan and Nepal. (Bhutan, Nepal and Namibia are using Electronic Voting Machines made in India).
The Election Commission of India also established the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) in June 2011. IIIDEM is envisaged as an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension on participatory democracy and election management. Apart from training courses for national stakeholders, IIIDEM has also conducted many training programmes, capacity building workshops, seminars and round-tables for international participants. Many of the training programmes are conducted in collaboration with the Government of India
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.
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