At least 55 percent of Indians also back a governing system "in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts," the survey added, noting that support for autocratic rule is higher in India than in any other nation surveyed.
Since its first election in 1952 following the end of British colonial rule, the South Asian nation has become a multiparty government with a parliamentary system and a commitment to free elections. But like many democracies around the world, its citizens are increasingly leaning toward a leader with authoritarian tendencies.
From President Donald Trump to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the revival of the strongman leader has been a defining trend of global politics in recent years. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remains immensely popular at home, is no different with his hard-line stance on corruption and security.
Supporters of Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and urban dwellers "are significantly more likely" to support military rule than backers of the opposition Congress party and rural residents, the Pew Research Center survey showed.
Given India's high levels of corruption, there's a perception that recent tough measures such as demonetization have made sense, so the public now wants a stronger hand on hot-button issues such as economic inequality as well as law and order, explained Tony Nash, founder and CEO of data analytics firm Complete Intelligence.