Making Indian democracy a world leader - through civic engagement
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House did not receive a large amount of press coverage in the United States. The most notable quote came during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden when President Trump proclaimed: "I am proud to announce to the media, to the American people, that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media." Trump's comment missed the real significance of his meeting with Modi. It was important not because of the pair's leadership in social media but because the Prime Minister and the President are leaders of the two largest democracies in the world.
The United States was established as a democratic republic over 240 years ago. For the past 100 years or so, it has been the standard bearer for democracy globally.
By contrast, the Indian democratic republic just turned 70. For many years, India has looked to the United States for its examples of exemplary democratic behaviour.
Because of changing circumstances in the US and around the world, we are at a pivotal point. India has the chance to become a leader and example setter and to be, as President Barack Obama labelled it, an "indispensable" partner with the United States on the global stage to demonstrate the full potential of democracies and democratic values.