India is striving to have more influence on the world stage. Dramatic growth figures, a growing middle class, and successes in services and the IT sector have made the nuclear power a global player. The United States cites the largest democracy in the world as an important ally, at the same time as India insists on its "strategic" autonomy in global affairs. As a regional power, India is already playing a decisive role in South Asia and beyond – for example, in Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, India also remains a country of widespread poverty, religious animosity, and communal violence. The conflict with arch-enemy Pakistan isn’t anywhere near being resolved, and India’s predominance within South Asia is sometimes regarded with suspicion by its smaller neighbours. With its history of opposition towards the Western liberal order – for instance, via its leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement in the past – New Delhi is often still described as a difficult partner in negotiations around the provision of global public goods from trade to climate change.
The GIGA is one of the largest European centres examining developments in India from a social science perspective. Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar, who is among the world’s most renowned scholars on Indian foreign and trade policy, heads the institute. GIGA researchers study India’s influence within South Asia and Afghanistan, as well as the conflict with Pakistan. Within the Regional Powers Network, which is coordinated by GIGA, they conduct research on India’s role as part of the BRICS and IBSA state coalitions. With a view to India’s rich history of political thinking, GIGA researchers analyse the ideas underlying India’s foreign policy as well as its identity as a global and regional power. In addition, the GIGA studies India’s socio-economic development.