India's States: Agents of Change

U.S.-India Insight: August 2012

Download this month's newsletter to read about a number of major transformations in India, which largely stem from the rise of its middle class.  Many of these changes also signal a shift from a centralized power structure in New Delhi to a fragmented group of states, territories, and cities all seeking to influence the policy making process. 

As a gesture of acknowledgement to these power shifts, high ranking U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have opted to deliver key policy speeches in various Indian states and mega-cities, rather than in New Delhi.  Ambassador Nancy Powell recently voiced this new emphasis stating, “The business of the U.S. Mission in India is business…I want to continue to look beyond our usual capital city contacts to progressive Chief Ministers for opportunities to develop strong business ties.”  Increasingly, the states are being seen as havens of not only FDI, but also for experimenting with and pushing alternative policy ideas from energy and power to education and health – all areas of great importance. 

In 21st century U.S.-India relations, unlocking the full potential of the relationship requires a deeper understanding of policy dynamics in the states – and the role that they play as agents of change in India today.

Prashant Agrawal and Karl F. Inderfurth

Persis Khambatta