Democracy is best guarantor of internal security: PM

Democracy can often be frustrating, but it is also the greatest guarantor of internal security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday, reminding cynics and sceptics that "India's democracy remains an inspiration to the world."

In  his New Year's message to the people of the country, the prime minister agreed - with obvious reference to recent events and the government's inability to push through key legislations, including that of the Lokpal - that "often democracy can be frustrating - both to those who are in government and to those who expect it to be more efficient, effective and humane.

"But our democracy is our strength. It is the basis of our unity. It is also the most important guarantor of internal security," he said emphatically.

Amid a new wave of democracy demanding the empowerment of ordinary people sweeping the world, said the prime minister, "India stands tall as a functioning democracy.
"We are a nation of over a billion people, plural, secular, democratic - with all the great religions of the world freely practiced here, with so many languages and cuisines, so many castes and communities - living together in an open society. This is an achievement for which every Indian can be proud."
He said India's greatest achievement was that despite grave provocations from extremists and terrorists, the people of India have remained united.

"They have not lost faith in our plural, secular and inclusive democracy. Across the world people look to India for inspiration. Our model of Inclusive Growth in an Open Society inspires those who seek freedom from tyranny.  

"The world acknowledges this achievement. I do believe that the world wants India to succeed because India offers hope. "Our democracy has its faults, but our people are aware of them and have shown their ability to correct these faults," the prime minister said in his message released by his office on New Year's eve.

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