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Minority Groups Have Equal Stake In Democracy: US Envoy To India

Eric Garcetti said it has been a great week for Indo-US relations.

Mumbai:

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said efforts should be made to ensure that every section of society including ethnic or religious minorities feels that it has an equal stake in a country’s democracy.

Replying to a question on concerns around communal overtones of the ongoing election campaign in India and its impact on the Indo-US ties, Garcetti said he will not tell anybody how to run a democracy, and added that Indians “will take care of their own democracy”.

“I will also say in broad terms that diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are not just (concerns) on election day. They are all the time. Democracy is a daily plebiscite,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event on diversity arranged by the US consulate here.

“We all have to work, like we do in the US, (to ensure) that everybody, whether it is an ethnic or religious minority, whether it is women or youth, whether it is the poor, all feel that they have an equal stake in the democracy,” he added.

Complaints have been made to the Election Commission of India by some political parties about the alleged communal nature of messaging during the ongoing elections.

Asked about India’s decision to declare state mourning following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Mr Garcetti said he respects nations and their relationships, and in times of tragedies, the best thing a country can do is to comfort.

Amid widespread protests on American college campuses against the situation in the Gaza strip and reports of some Indian students facing action by their universities, Mr Garcetti said he wants to assure Indian parents that the safety of their kids will be taken care of, and added that the US loves Indian students.

Last year India became the biggest source destination for students across the world and a fourth of foreign students in American universities are from India, the ambassador noted.

The career politician-turned-diplomat said it was natural for students to have opinions, and as long as protests were peaceful, there was no need to worry.

He also assured Indian students that they will get their visas in time before academic sessions begin, and all five visa-issuing centres were making efforts to ensure the same.

Mr Garcetti said it has been a great week for Indo-US relations, pointing to the first shipment of the jointly developed malaria vaccine being sent to Africa, and added that when the two countries come together, they can help the world and every human lead a better life. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)