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India - U.S. Global Democracy Initiative

July 18, 2005

India and the United States share a fundamental commitment to democracy and believe they have an obligation to the global community to strengthen values, ideals and practices of freedom, pluralism, and rule of law. With their solid democratic traditions and institutions, they have agreed to assist other societies in transition seeking to become more open and democratic. They recognize democracy as a universal aspiration that transcends social, cultural and religious boundaries.

Each has expressed at the highest levels its belief that democracy is central to economic prosperity and development and to building peaceful societies.

Possessing a wealth of knowledge and experience that can, and must, be shared with other emerging democracies, the United States and India will offer assistance when sought to build institutions and develop relevant human resources that make the workings of democracy credible. An independent judiciary, a credible election commission, an active human rights commission, and effective and transparent auditing process are some of the critical elements of that democratic ideal. The spread of parliamentary practices is also an important contribution to the process of democratic transition. Gender equality is an integral aspect of democratic societies, and support for programs promoting this objective is envisaged as a high priority.

Respect for diversity and pluralism is intrinsic to democracy. The U.S. and India will support programs that will sustain and nurture the value of pluralism. They will encourage and support the United Nations in its electoral assistance programs, including through national capacity building, constitution drafting and electoral expertise for transition democracies.

The United States and India welcome the Democracy Fund under the United Nations and announce they are taking steps to make a contribution of U.S. $10 million each to the Fund this year. They invite other democratic nations to contribute generously to the Fund, which should assist societies in building the institutions of democracy.

Through the launch of their Global Democracy Initiative to Promote Democracy and Development, they have agreed to:
  • Reaffirm the Community of Democracies Santiago Commitment, and agree to work together to jointly implement the Santiago commitment, including with other states and civil society organizations, to promote democracy and development.
  • Organize together training courses in India, the United States, or a third country where necessary, to enhance capabilities to strengthen democratic institutions and develop their human resources.
  • Establish a virtual Coordination and Information Center to share best practices on democracy, identify opportunities for joint support, and highlight capacity-building training programs.
  • Partnering at the UN General Assembly Summit on the Millennium Development Goals to ensure that the outcome advances the important link of democracy and development.

Washington, DC
July 18, 2005

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