India, US should continue to stand together as leading democracies: Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today made a strong pitch for a vibrant civil society in India and America in order to make their democracies more open, inclusive and equitable.
India and the US should continue to stand together as leading democracies at a time when global threats to democracy and international freedom are increasing, Blinken said while speaking at a civil society roundtable in New Delhi on the theme "Advancing equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth and development," reports our New Delhi correspondent.
"All successful democracies include thriving civil societies, and this ensures citizens become more fully engaged in the life of their communities," he said.
"In short, if we want to make our democracies more open, more inclusive, more resilient, more equitable, we need vibrant civil society," Blinken said, adding that he wants to see more connections between civil society organisations in India and the US to make the partnership even stronger.
The US has in the recent past spoken out on issues such as the situation in Kashmir and movements such as the farmers' protest on the outskirts of Delhi.
Blinken told the roundtable that India and the US as democracies are "works in progress", reports our New Delhi correspondent.
"At a time of rising global threats to democracy and international freedoms -- we talk about a democratic recession -- it's vital that we two world leading democracies continue to stand together in support of these ideals," he said.
Blinken, on his first visit to India since becoming Secretary of State, said India's achievements include a "free media, independent courts, a vibrant and free and fair electoral system -- the largest expression of free political will by citizens anywhere in the world".