US President Biden says protecting democracy is ‘challenge of our time’

An initiative of Biden, the summit hosted by the White House was attended by leaders from more than 80 countries, including India.
An initiative of Biden, the summit hosted by the White House was attended by leaders from more than 80 countries, including India.Wikimedia Commons

Washington: Asserting that protecting democratic norms and values is the challenge of the current times, US President Joe Biden, in a virtual address to world leaders on Thursday, announced an ambitious Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, under which his administration is planning to provide up to USD 424.4 million on a global democratic renewal strategy.

An initiative of Biden, the summit hosted by the White House was attended by leaders from more than 80 countries, including India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the virtual summit on Friday.

“In the face of sustained and alarming challenges to democracy, universal human rights and all around the world, democracy needs champions and I wanted to host this summit because here in the United States, we know, as well as anyone, that renewing our democracy and strengthening our democratic institutions requires constant effort,” Biden said in his opening remarks to the first Summit for Democracy.

Sharing his thoughts on the challenges being faced by democracy, Biden said by outside pressure from autocrats, they seek to advance their own power, export and expand their influence around the world, and justify the repressive policies and practices as a more efficient way to address today's challenges.

“That's how it's shown. By voices that seek to fan the flames of social division and political polarisation, and perhaps most importantly and most worrying of all, by increasing the dissatisfaction of people all around the world with democratic governments that they feel are failing to deliver for their needs.

“In my view, this is the defining challenge of our time. Democracy: government of the people, by the people, for the people can at times be fragile, but it also is inherently resilient. It's capable of self-correction and it's capable of self-improvement. And yes, democracy is hard. We all know that,” the US president said.

It works best with consensus and cooperation, Biden said.

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