Make our democracies more open, inclusive; we need a vibrant civil society: Blinken

New Delhi: On the first day of his visit to India, Blinken while addressing civil society representatives said, "And I'm really here to underscore the importance of the relationships between our countries, to try to deepen our ties and extend our cooperation. I think it's hard to find countries with more -- who do more together in more different areas than with the United States and India,"  In short, if we want to make our democracies more open, more inclusive, more resilient, more equitable, we need a vibrant civil society," he added.

He said, "Here in India, that includes the 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." "We also know that successful democracies include thriving civil societies. That's how citizens become more fully engaged in the life of their communities. It's how we organize and provide the resources to respond to emergencies. And we've seen people and organizations come together throughout Covid-19 in creative and incredibly generous ways, and civil society is also where we're able to build meaningful connections across our social, religious, and cultural differences," Blinken said.

"Later today, I'll have a chance to see Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, an old friend and colleague. We'll talk about many of the critical issues our countries are working on together, from Covid-19 to climate change, defense, mutual security, trade and investment, education, energy, science, technology. Blinken said.

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