Speaker: Mr. R. L. Narayan, High Commissioner of India
Date of the Event: Sunday, March 30, 2008

Topic: "India: The largest democracy in the world--Her challenges and promise": Mr. Narayan, the High Commissioner of India spoke about — See the synopsis of his talk below.

Mr. R. L. Narayan, High Commissioner for India in Canada, is a career diplomat, having joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1972 after obtaining Masters degree in Economics. He has held senior level appointments in the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of External Affairs.

Having had foreign postings in Moscow (two times), Washington, Belgrade, Bangkok, Doha, Warsaw, Kuala Lumpur, he has been India’s Amabassador to Qatar and Poland and High Commissioner in Malaysia. Currently, Mr. Narayan is India’s High Commissioner in Canada since the beginning of 2007.

Mr. Narayan and his wife have a grown-up son. They enjoy social life and actively take part in community activities.

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(Speaker Introduction by Mr. Brian Dickson)
ICFC DISCLAIMER: The content and views expressed in this presentation and the Q&A session are entirely those of the speaker and individual members of the audience. ICFC has no responsibility for any comments and interpretations.

Synopsis of the Talk on "India: The largest democracy in the world--Her challenges and promise"

India is the second most populous nation in the world, but easily the most diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, language and religion. At the dawn of independence in 1947, poverty, illiteracy and the traumas of partition caused analysts to raise several questions about India’s future as a unified and integrated country, let alone its evolution into the democratic and forward-looking polity which it is today. How has democracy taken such firm root in a society as diverse as India? What is its future in an era when minority and coalition Governments, competing ideologies and rising expectations have become the rule? Can affluence continue to coexist with inequality and can modernity be overlaid on the age-old divisions of caste, creed and community? As India seeks a dynamic, sustainable and inclusive growth paradigm, what are the challenges it faces in maintaining its open and democratic framework? How can these challenges be overcome to achieve our 2020 vision of ignited minds powering India towards knowledge-driven double-digit growth enabling us to eliminate poverty within the lifetime of the current generation? How will India’s external environment impact upon this and what role will the far-flung Indian diaspora play in the process?

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