Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a virtual address at the Summit for Democracy on Friday, 10 December, said that an independent judiciary and free media are important elements of a democracy.
"The structural features like multi-party elections, 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 society," he stated at the summit, which is being hosted by United States President Joe Biden.
"Centuries of colonial rule could not suppress the democratic spirit of the Indian people. It again found full expression with India's independence and laid to an unparalleled story in democratic nation building over the last 75 years."Prime Minister Modi
"Democracies can meet the aspirations of our citizens and celebrate the democratic spirit of humanity. India stands ready to join fellow democracies in these noble endeavors," he further said.
"The Indian story has one clear message to the world that democracy can deliver, has delivered and will continue to deliver. Democracy is just not of, by or for the people but also with the people and within the people," Modi added.
Speaking about the role of technology in democracies, the prime minister said that nations should jointly shape global norms for social media and cryptocurrency.
"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," he said.
Modi Emphasises on Democracy & Role of Tech
At US President Joe Biden's Summit for Democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday underscored the importance of technology firms and their contribution to preserving democratic societies.
Arguing that technology could have both a positive and negative effect on democracy, the Indian prime minister also spoke about what he called the four pillars of Indian democratic governance — sensitivity, accountability, participation, and reform orientation.
Additionally, he said that democratic values should be the guide to global governance and also referred back to India's civilisational ethos as one of the earliest sources of democratic practices.
Postulating that democratic spirit, like respecting the rule of law and having pluralistic ethos, is intrinsic in Indians, Modi said that this attitude is carried forward by expatriates as well.
In doing so, the expat contributes to the economy and social harmony of their adopted countries.
Recalling that 75 years ago, on this exact date, the first session of India's Constituent Assembly had been held, Modi also reminded the summit members of the importance of democratic countries to deliver on constitutional values.
China Uninvited, Pakistan Refuses to Attend
China and Bangladesh were uninvited to Biden's Washington Summit for Democracy.
Pakistan however, despite being invited, chose to not attend the summit.
It is unclear whether Pakistan's decision is based on its solidarity with China, or some other source of animosity between the administrations of Joe Biden and Imran Khan.
The Foreign Affairs office did say that, "Pakistan is a large functional democracy with an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, and a free media" and that it remains "deeply committed to further deepening democracy, fighting corruption, and protecting and promoting human rights of all citizens".
On its relations with the US, the Foreign Affairs added that:
"We value our partnership with the US, which we wish to expand both bilaterally as well as in terms of regional and international cooperation. We remain in contact with the US on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future."
(With inputs from PTI)