Democracy, Freedom of Thought And Liberty Part of India’s Civilisational Ethos: PM Modi At G7 Summit

India is a natural ally for the G7 and its partners in defending democracy, freedom of thought and liberty from a host of threats stemming from authoritarianism, terrorism, violent extremism and economic coercion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday. The prime minister made the remarks in a virtual address at an outreach session of a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) richest democracies, held in the British seaside resort of Cornwall.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Modi, as the lead speaker at the session titled ‘open societies and economies’, highlighted India’s civilisational commitment to democracy, freedom of thought and liberty. “As the world’s largest democracy, India is a natural ally for the G7 and guest countries to defend these shared values from a host of threats stemming from authoritarianism, terrorism and violent extremism, disinformation and infodemics and economic coercion,” he said.

The Group of Seven (G7) comprises the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. As chair of G7, the UK invited India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa to the summit as Guest countries. “Was happy to address the @G7 Session on Open Societies as a Lead Speaker. Democracy and freedom are part of India’s civilisational ethos, and find expression in the vibrancy and diversity of India’s society,” Modi tweeted.

The PM also highlighted the revolutionary impact of digital technologies on social inclusion and empowerment in India through applications such as, Aadhaar, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity. While underscoring the vulnerabilities inherent in open societies, the prime minister called on tech companies and social media platforms to ensure a safe cyber environment for their users, additional secretary (economic relations) in the MEA P Harish said at a press conference. “The prime minister’s views were appreciated by other leaders in the gathering,” he said. Harish said the G7 leaders underlined their commitment to a free, open and a rules-based Indo-Pacific and resolved to collaborate with partners in the region.

  • The prime minister shared the concern expressed by several leaders that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks, and stressed the need to ensure that cyberspace remains an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting them.
  • PM Modi also sought the support of the grouping on lifting patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines. Modi’s call was supported by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, WTO Director-General Okonjo Iweala and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Harish said.
  • Speaking at a session on climate change, the prime minister called for collective action, recognising that this challenge cannot be addressed in silos. He mentioned India’s achievements on climate action and shared that India is the only G20 country on track to meet its Paris commitments. He also took note of the increasing effectiveness of the two major global initiatives nurtured by India — the CDRI and the International Solar Alliance.
  • The prime minister stressed that developing countries need better access to climate finance, and called for a holistic approach towards climate change that covers all dimensions of the problem- mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, climate financing, equity, climate justice and lifestyle change.
  • Modi also called on the G7 to meet their unfulfilled promise of USD 100 billion annually in climate finance.

“The prime minister’s message of global solidarity and unity, especially between open and democratic societies and economies, in tackling the global challenges of health, climate change and economic recovery was well received by the leaders at the Summit,” a government statement said.

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