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‘Democracy Has Delivered’: PM Modi At US Joe Biden’s Virtual Summit

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India was among the 12 countries invited to attend the closed-door virtual Summit for Democracy Leaders’ Plenary Session. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the Session convened by US President Joe Biden on Thursday.

Delivering his opening speech, Biden highlighted the ‘definite challenges’ and threats faced by democracy worldwide that has been ‘backsliding’. He said, “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident, we have to renew it with each generation.”

According to reports and sources familiar with the matter, PM Modi emphasised the need for democratic countries to deliver the values and ethos of their constitutions. He also underscored that the Indian democracy is built on four pillars — sensitivity, accountability, participation and reform orientation.

“I am proud to represent the world’s largest democracy at this Summit. The democratic spirit is integral to our civilization ethos,” PM Modi said as he began his brief speech on India’s democratic civilization and suggested ways to bolster democratic rule across nations.

Here’s a summary of his speech:

1. Ancient Democracy

Modi discussed how centuries of the colonial rule could not curb the democratic spirit of India. He drew references from ancient republican city-states such as Lichhavi and Shakya, which flourished in India as far as 2500 years back and how they highlight the ancient democratic spirit that is integral to our civilization ethos.

2. Inclusion in all spheres

Modi referred to India’s democracy as ‘a story of unprecedented socio-economic inclusion in all spheres’. He emphasised that India’s democracy has been built on constant improvement of various sectors, including health and education, at an unimaginable scale. “That democracy can deliver, that democracy has delivered and that democracy will continue to deliver,” he said.

 3. Enhance democratic practices and systems

Modi emphasised the need for constantly enhancing inclusion, transparency, human dignity, responsive grievance redressal and decentralization of power, to maintain the democratic status of a country. “Different parts of the world have followed different paths of democratic development. There is much we can learn from each other. We all need to constantly improve our democratic practices and systems,” he said, adding, “India would be happy to share its expertise in holding free and fair elections, and in enhancing transparency in all areas of governance through innovative digital solutions.”

4. Power of technology

Modi underlined the power of technology that can affect democracy in a positive or negative way. “We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and cryptocurrencies, so that they are used to empower democracy, not to undermine it.”

5. Democracy lies within people

Talking about the elements of democracy — multi-party elections, free media and independent judiciary — Modi said that the true spirit of democracy lies within the people. He said, “The basic strength of democracy is the spirit and ethos that lie within our citizens and our societies.”

The first ‘Summit for Democracy’ has been deemed one-of-kind to counter threats to democracy worldwide.


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