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Uprisings in the Arab World: Options for GOI

P.R. Kumaraswamy is Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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  • March 30, 2011

    While erstwhile authoritarianism and absolutist rule may no longer be possible, it would be naïve to expect that the Middle East will undergo a metamorphosis. There would undoubtedly be changes, greater openness, increased transparency, enhanced governance and increased popular participation. Even these changes would not be uniform and/or happen immediately. But the process would be on and the governments, especially ruling elites, would be monitored more closely by the ruled. Yet, it is extremely unlikely that the current wave of protests will transform the Middle East into an oasis of democracy. Samuel Huntington’s third wave of democracy is unlikely to sweep the region any time soon. Relaxing, increasingly transparent and reforming status quo is perhaps the maximum that one can anticipate from the current wave of unrest in the Middle East. This being so, what are the options for the Indian Government? While individuals could demand a more liberal and people-centric platform, governments have limited space for manoeuvre. Though ideal, siding with the democratic aspirations of the Arab people is not a viable option for a state. Wrong moves, missteps or ideology-driven actions would bring misery for a vast majority of the Indian population.

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