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‘One of the world’s most …’: US envoy dismisses concerns over democracy in India | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The top diplomat representing Biden administration in New Delhi on Thursday rejected concerns raised in some quarters about democracy in India and noted that in many respects, Indians are superior to Americans.
Speaking at an event organised by the Council on Foreign Relations, a prominent American think-tank, US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti expressed confidence in India’s democratic future, saying that “10 years from now India is going to be a vibrant democracy as it is today in terms of free and fair elections‘.
“Again there’s things that probably are worse and there’s things that are better. They have a law, you can’t go more than two kilometers to vote. So there’ll be one guy who lives in the mountains as a monk (at) someplace. They will walk for two days to bring the voting machine, execute the vote,” he said, responding to a question expressing concerns over the status of democracy in India.
He mentioned that during election times in India, individuals inspect trucks to ensure no cash is being circulated. “There’s probably walk-in money, as they call it in some cities here in the United States, Philadelphia, that’s like a tradition where cash kind of gets you votes and things like that. Therefore, I have been impressed by certain practices they implement that surpass our own.
However, he further added that there are certain issues that “we keep our eyes on. And I just disagree that we don’t speak out about them’,
“We put them out. There are other aspects as well. Some individuals expect us to focus solely on that. However, this relationship is too crucial to be consumed by repeating the same thing all day. You won’t accomplish anything else. It will lead to a situation where they will not be close to us. Whereas where we find the common ground, which I think is really human to human, very deep,” he said.
“You have a lot of leaders there who have come worked, been educated here, have an affinity. There is a large positive opinion poll among Americans. I told the president before the state visit that Americans poll better in India than Americans do in America. They like us more than we like ourselves. That’s rare in the world today,” Garcetti said, adding that Poland is the only other country that comes close.
This is a major advantage for the US, the American diplomat said.
“… If you don’t know state governments in India, which are as powerful as the centre and are run by opposition parties, and there’s plenty of criticisms you can make, too, about other parties that have been in power. If you look at history in India, there’s not been some golden era where everybody’s rights have been respected,” Garcetti said.
“America’s role is to stand up for the principles and the values that we have, to never retreat from those and talk about them. However, is the relationship solely based on those points of conflict? Definitely not. Engaging in such behavior would be detrimental to diplomacy and policy. But in my heart, 100 percent, I believe, not only will this still continue to be one of the world’s most vibrant democracies,” Garcetti said.
“I 100 percent believe we can trust this relationship. It’s going to be one of the defining relationships of the 21st century, the US and India together,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)

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