Autocratization in South Asia

Autocratization in South Asia

Democracy is in retreat in several parts of the world. Is South Asia also facing a period of autocratization? If so, how is this trend manifested, are there commonalities across the region, and what are the forces behind it?

In 2021, Bangladesh celebrated 50 years of independence, however the country may be currently moving in the direction of a “strong man” regime. The early signs of India moving backwards on democracy indexes emerged already in 2007 but has accelerated since then. What positive democratization trends identified in Pakistan more than a decade ago have almost been erased today. Can these trends be reversed?

Professor Sten Widmalm from Uppsala University, has extensively researched the topic of autocratization in South Asia. Most recently by editing the newly published Routledge Handbook of Autocratization in South Asia which this webinar discussion was based on.

UI welcomed Sten Widmalm and two of the contributing authors to speak on developments in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.


Sten Widmalm, Professor in political science at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. Editor of Routledge Handbook of Autocratization in South Asia (available as open access).

Arild Engelsen Ruud, Professor in South Asian Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo.

Aiysha Varraich, Research Fellow at Global Integrity and PhD Candidate at the Quality of Government Institute, University of Gothenburg.

The webinar was moderated by Henrik Chetan Aspengren, Research Fellow at UI.


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