India, with a population of 1.4 billion, is often cited as a democratic partner in a world where democracies are under increasing pressure. This is also true of India, which The Economist has now described, for example, as an “imperfect democracy” and has fallen slightly further in the rankings of well-functioning democracies in recent years. So Hoekstra also spoke to a group of Indian NGOs about it.
According to Hoekstra, topics such as democracy and the rule of law require “continuous maintenance”. He admitted that “the Netherlands itself is not without all flaws”.
At the meeting in New Delhi, the Minister spoke with civil society organizations about freedom of the press, the rights of women and girls, and the rights and freedoms of all religious groups.
Topic also: “Chinese insistence”
As a democracy, India is also an important partner in the context of what Hoekstra describes as “Chinese assertiveness” in the South China Sea. There are regular tensions. China is becoming increasingly dominant in that region. Hoekstra’s fellow Indian Jaishankar has already spoken about this during an EU summit, and a Dutch navy ship took part in British exercises in the area last year. Hoekstra has now opened a private consultation on international maritime law in New Delhi.
“What we are seeing more broadly is that safety and stability at sea, especially in this region, is much less guaranteed than it was five to 10 years ago,” Hoekstra says. “For India, that’s something they have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s a very important partnership for us, because in the world with all the hot spots that are already there, stability is something you have to stick to.”
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