Democracy

India is the largest and most vibrant democracy in the world today. The US, the oldest and most powerful democracy, must work closely with India in spreading democracy throughout the world. Although India has a long way to becoming the most efficient democracy, it never had any debate on whether democracy is suited for its people. Its age old tradition of pluralism, coupled with a majority Hindu population, helped India embrace democracy after independence from Great Britain without any inhibitions. For more than 60 years, various political parties have ruled India by gaining power through the democratic process. Even Indian Muslims, the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia, have fully participated in the democratic process throughout these six decades. It is no surprise then that India has emerged as a symbol of democracy around the world. However, democracy still eludes more than a third of humanity.

There is no doubt that if the whole world is to embrace democracy, India and the United States must work in unison to achieve that goal. Today, there is not a single functioning democracy geographically between Israel and India. There is great enthusiasm among countries in the Middle East to embrace democracy, which is a welcome change brought about by the efforts of the United States. However, the US must now work closely with India towards the total democratization of the Middle East. We also support the strengthening of democracy in the rest of South Asia.

Because Pakistan’s experiment with democracy has been a total failure, it can only succeed in the future with the active support of the United States. There had been no war when Pakistan was democratic. All the wars with India were under military dictatorships. A democratic Pakistan will live in peace with its neighbors, promote pluralism, and enjoy prosperity. Pakistan will remain a credible threat to the US and its neighbors as long as it craves for radical Islam and Jihadi Terrorism. Democracy can play a vital role in containing the rise of radical Islam and fighting Jihadi Terrorism.

The US has an important role to play in promoting democracy in the “Red Corridor” (i.e. the communist countries within the direct influence of China and countries with a sizable population supporting communism. Today, the US enjoys strong bilateral ties with China, the backbone of communism. An economically powerful China, absent democracy, will remain a serious threat to the US and the free world.

Therefore, US policy must incorporate attractive economic incentives for urgently needed political reforms within China. Based on past experience, China will also require strong measures for its slow progress in areas of concern to the US such as human rights, political reforms, nuclear proliferation regimes, recognition of Taiwan, and freedom of Tibet.