I am proud to represent the world’s largest democracy at this Summit. The democratic spirit is integral to our civilization ethos. Elected republican city-states such as Lichhavi and Shakya flourished in India as far as 2500 years back. The same democratic spirit is seen in the 10th Century “Uttaramerur” inscription that codified the principles of democratic participation. This very democratic spirit and ethos had made ancient India one of the most prosperous. Centuries of the colonial rule could not suppress the democratic spirit of the Indian people. It again found full expression with India’s independence and led to an unparalleled story in democratic nation-building over the last 75 years.
It is a story of unprecedented socio-economic inclusion in all spheres. It is a story of constant improvements in health, education, and human well-being at an unimaginable scale. The Indian story has one clear message to the world. That democracy can deliver, that democracy has delivered and that democracy will continue to deliver.
The structural features like multi-party elections, an independent judiciary, and free media – are important instruments of democracy. However, the basic strength of democracy is the spirit and ethos that lie within our citizens and our societies. Democracy is not only of the people, by the people, for the people but also with the people, within the people.
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. And, we all need to continuously enhance inclusion, transparency, human dignity, responsive grievance redressal, and decentralization of power.
In this context, today’s assembly provides a timely platform for furthering cooperation among democracies. 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. We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and crypto-currencies, so that they are used to empower democracy, not to undermine it.
By working together, democracies can meet the aspirations of our citizens and celebrate the democratic spirit of humanity. India stands ready to join fellow democracies in this noble endeavor.
Thank you. Thank you very much.