India [ Images ] has more credibility with developing countries on democracy promotion and governance than does the United States, a top United States official has admitted, even as Washington is pushing New Delhi [ Images ] to be part of the effort to make this phenomenon contagious worldwide.
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Robert O Blake told a packed audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC on Thursday that "we are now increasingly talking with our friends in the Indian government about ways in which we can work to promote democracy, transparency, and many of you saw that we had an open-government launch about two months ago with Sam Pitroda [ Images ]."
"We want to try to sustain that app to bring in more countries into the open-government platform initiatives," he said.
Ironically, the catalyst behind the open government initiative in the administration and the joint launch with India was and Indian American -- the erstwhile Chief Technology Officer for President Barack Obama [ Images ] -- Aneesh Chopra.
Blake said the administration would have more to say on this issue "in the next few days," but pointed out that "we are also working very closely with India -- with its Election Commission through the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to again look for ways that we and India can help to promote democracy -- to help promote transparency, to help promote best practices such as India's electronic voting machines in other countries."
"So, we think there is quite a lot of space to expand this area of cooperation and we are delighted that India wants to work with us on this because frankly, India's going to be much more credible and India's own experiences are going to be much more credible in many of these developing countries than our own," he said, and declared, "So, it's vital to have their support."