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It is axiomatic that India, as the largest practising democracy in the world and with over 60 years’ record of holding effective, transparent and credible elections, should play a leading role in promoting participatory democracy and election administration world-wide. There are huge opportunities for democracy promotion and electoral support particularly in the Arab world, Gulf countries, and Central Asian countries, which have still not established themselves as functional democracies. Further, Election Commission of India has also felt the need to continuously engage itself and others in generating innovative ideas and practices to respond to the emerging challenges in election management. This necessarily calls for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in promoting participatory democracy and best practices in election administration, professional contact and exchange activities, study and observation missions and technical support and advice.

Over the last decade, therefore, the Election Commission of India, has been making incremental efforts to promote inter-institutional contacts, and to provide technical support and user-friendly resources and advice to Election authorities elsewhere, on request. In the process, Election Commission of India has also acquired valuable learnings from its counterparts in other countries. This international cooperation outreach has been made in conjunction with India’s foreign policy objectives, to promote democracy and strengthen election administration world-wide.

The Indo-US Joint Declaration signed during US President Obama’s visit in November 2010, also spoke of a shared international partnership for democracy and development. As part of this agenda, the Joint Declaration pledged to explore cooperation in support of strengthening election organization and management in other interested countries. Mrs. Hillary Clinton, during her visit to India in 2011 as US Secretary of State referred to Election Commission of India, as the “Gold Standard” in election management worldwide.

During Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the ECI, a number of Election Management Authorities and delegations from participating countries evinced keen interest in the electoral technology including EVM operations in Indian elections, exploring whether the ECI could provide them technical assistance. Nepal, Bhutan and Namibia are now using Electronic Voting Machines manufactured in India. After Election Commission started annual celebrations of its National Voters Day in January 2011, countries such as Pakistan, Bhutan and Republic of Korea have also emulated this practice, and are observing their own National Voters Days to promote voter education and awareness.

Memorandum of Understanding

Memoranda of Understanding for cooperation in the field of elections have been signed with 20 countries and international organisations (United Nations, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Brazil, Russia, Nepal, Chile, Indonesia, S. Africa, IFES, S. Korea, Venezuela, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Yemen, Kyrgyz Republic and Georgia).

Complete List of MoUs of ECI

ECI’s Membership of International Organizations

  • Founding member and Chair of Association of Asian Election Authorities (2015-16).
  • Founding member and Chair of Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia (2012-13).
  • Member of Executive Board of Association of World Election Bodies (2013-17).
  • Member of Steering Committee of Commonwealth Electoral Network (2010-14).
  • Member of Community of Democracies – Working Group on Elections (2014).

Study/Observation missions for Elections to other countries

Study/observation missions for Elections to countries such as Tanzania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Lesotho, Ecuador, Cambodia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Australia, Norway, Nepal, Sweden.

Election Visitors' Programme

Election Study teams for Assembly and General Elections in India, including 41 delegates from 17 countries for Election Visitors Programme for 2014 General Election.

Exchange visits

Exchange of more than 200 visits (approximately half of them incoming visits) during the last five years for exchange of experiences and skills, capacity building programmes, technical assistance, Conferences/Workshops and other events relating to democracy and election management.

International Events

  • Diamond Jubilee celebrations, 2010 & 2011
  • Commonwealth Electoral Network – Working Group Meeting on Voters Education (2011)
  • Inaugural Conference of Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia (May 2012)
  • Executive Board meeting of Association of Asian Election Authorities (July 2012)
  • Meeting of Election Management Bodies of South Asia (January 2013)
  • International Symposium for South Asian Election Management Bodies(January 2014)
  • Election Visitors Programme (April-May 2014)
  • Regional Workshop of South Asian Election Management Bodies (October 2014)
  • General Assembly of Association of Asian Election Authorities (October 2014)
  • Executive Board meeting of Association of Asian Election Authorities (Sept 2015)
  • Executive Board meeting of Association of World Election Bodies ( Feb 2016)

Technical Cooperation

Technical Assistance provided to Jordan, Maldives, Namibia, Egypt, Bhutan and Nepal. (Bhutan, Nepal and Namibia are using Electronic Voting Machines made in India).

Capacity Building

The Election Commission of India also established the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) in June 2011. IIIDEM is envisaged as an advanced resource centre of learning, research, training and extension on participatory democracy and election management. Apart from training courses for national stakeholders, IIIDEM has also conducted many training programmes, capacity building workshops, seminars and round-tables for international participants. Many of the training programmes are conducted in collaboration with the Government of India (Ministry of External Affairs).
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