Technology and Democracy in India

Tuesday, February 1, 2022
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Via Zoom. Register at

This event is co-sponsored by  Center for South Asia and is part of Shorenstein APARC's winter 2022 webinar series, New Frontiers: Technology, Politics, and Society in the Asia-Pacific

How does India’s democratic system foster or impede the country’s command of key technologies? Conversely, how can technology reinforce or undermine the health of Indian democracy? Technological expertise and democratic vitality are both widely viewed as central features of Indian national identity and sources of Indian national power. But technology and democracy interact in complex and sometimes surprising ways. This webinar will explore how the Indian state can harness technology, and how technology impacts its democratic credentials – especially with the emergence of revolutionary new technologies, and the continuing evolution of the Indian political landscape.

Arun SukumarArun Mohan Sukumar is a PhD candidate at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a pre-doctoral research fellow at Fletcher’s Centre for International Law and Governance. He previously headed the Cyber Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, one of India’s biggest think-tanks. His first book, Midnight’s Machines: A Political History of Technology in India, won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Non-Fiction (2019) and was shortlisted for several other awards. Arun was previously a member of World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Digital Economy and Society, and appointed by India’s National Security Advisor to a 'Study Group on Cyber Norms' that advised the Indian government on a national strategy towards the development and negotiation of global cybersecurity norms.

Julie OwonoJulie Owono is the Executive Director of the Content Policy & Society Lab (CPSL) and a fellow of the Program on Democracy and the Internet (PDI) at Stanford University. She is also the Executive Director of digital rights organization Internet Sans Frontières, one of the inaugural members of the Facebook Oversight Board, and an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University. She holds a Master’s degree in International Law from la Sorbonne University in Paris, and practiced as a lawyer at the Paris Bar. Julie is a member of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) created by France and Canada, as well as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on AI for Humanity, and of the WEF Council on the Connected World.

Arzan Tarapore, South Asia Research Scholar of APARC at Stanford University, will moderate the discussion.