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Source: Government of India

It is my pleasure and privilege to congratulatethe International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance on its 25th Anniversary on behalf ofIndia, the largest democracy in the world.

Democracy needs to be cherished, persevered and celebrated. Every effort to strengthen democracy is a welcome force multiplier. In last 25 years, IIDEA has contributed to advancing democracy around the world and deserves our greetings on its 25th anniversary! India is happy to have supported International IDEA from its inception in 1995. On this occasion, I would also like to compliment the Swedish Government in taking a lead in the establishment of International IDEA.

In India, the democratic ideals have permeated to everyday reality from their high pedestal of Constitution. Beginning with an ambitious, almost impossible project of universal adult suffrage of its diverse and numerous people after independence in 1947, India has held 17 successful General Elections so far. The 2019 general elections had a voter count of more than 900 million with nearly 1 million polling stations across the country! International IDEA has also witnessed this gigantic festival of democracy.

As many parts in the world are increasingly faced with strife and conflict, promotion of sustainable democracy and democratic institutions by International IDEA for inclusive socio-economic development in these societies assume more significance than ever before. India through the Election Commission of India, is actively engaged in exchange of Standard Operating Procedures and know-how on conduct of transparent, fair and open elections, with countries around the world. IIDEA is welcome to benefit from and collaborate in this regard, to promote democracy and equal rights to all!

It is our firm belief that, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, democracy and democratic institutions have proved effective in fighting the known and unknown challenges of our times. I am confident that through our common endeavors, democratic ideals would be strengthened further and there would be more prosperity and peace across the world in the years to come.

Thank you!

New Delhi
November 20, 2020