Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his second day of engagements in New York meeting World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, where they discussed subjects related to sustainable development, clean energy and climate change.
Also on the engagement list were leaders of St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia, tiny Caribbean island nations with a combined population of less than five lakh people.
There is a definite sense of purpose behind Modi’s meeting with leaders of these two countries as both are crucial members of L-69, the group of 42 developing countries that bat for UN Security Council reforms.
The group derives its name from the draft document number “L.69” it had tabled in 2007-08 and which led to the initiation of the intergovernmental negotiation process on Security Council reforms.
These two countries, which recognise Taiwan as Republic of China, could play key roles in countering Chinese plans to stall the reforms.
Modi’s first official appointment on Friday was significant as a World Bank report termed India’s urbanisation as “messy and hidden”.
“If managed well, urbanisation can lead to sustainable growth by increasing productivity, allowing innovation and new ideas to emerge,” said World Bank managing director and chief operating officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who is on a three-day visit to India.
The report caused some discomfort, coming ahead of Modi’s address Friday’s UN summit where world leaders congregated to formally approve an ambitious and costly 15-year blueprint to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and combat climate change.
Foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the meeting between Modi and World Bank president Jim was dedicated to development. His other engagements were with King Abdullah of Jordan and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Modi’s meeting with the King of Jordan is seen as part of his effort to give a new push to India’s “Look West” policy, particularly in West Asia where millions of Indian expat workers earn their livelihood.
(With agency inputs)