NEW DELHI :
Democracies like India and the US go through “painful" episodes, such as the recent protests in the US, but resolve issues through free and fair elections, former US secretary of state Nicholas Burns said, adding that democracies have an advantage over authoritarian regimes like China and Russia.
Burns, now a professor of practice of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, also said that the Indian American community was a “profound bridge" between the two countries, and sought reduction of barriers between India and the US on the movement of people, especially under the H-1B visa system preferred by Indian information technology (IT) software experts and other professionals. He described the Indian American community as the “secret weapon in the relationship" between India and the US.
Burns’s comments, especially on H-1B visas, came on a day The Wall Street Journal reported that US President Donald Trump was considering suspension of a number of employment visas due to the mounting unemployment in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic. Burns expressed his views during a conversation with Rahul Gandhi on Friday—the fifth in a series of interviews of experts by the Congress leader on the socioeconomic fallout of the covid-19 crisis.
On the protests sweeping the US over the death of George Floyd, a black American, following police brutality in Minneapolis on 25 May, Burns said the demonstrations “on behalf of tolerance, inclusion, minority rights," were “at the core of our democracy". “I think one of the advantages that we democracies have, say, over an authoritarian country like China, is that we can correct ourselves....As all democracies, we resolve this at the ballot box in free and fair elections. We do not turn to violence. We do this peacefully," Burns added.