Modi bats for UNSC reforms as India eyes permanent seat

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New York
  • Updated: Sep 26, 2015 08:38 IST
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his address during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit at United Nations headquarters in New York. (EPA)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a strong pitch for reforms in the UN Security Council saying it is necessary to make it more relevant to the current world.

“We must reform the UN and the Security Council. This is essential so that the institutions have greater credibility and legitimacy. With a broad-based representation, we will be more effective in achieving our goals,” Modi said in his speech at the UN summit on sustainable development goals.

Modi’s pitch for UNSC reforms comes amidst India’s strong bid for a permanent seat in the expanded powerful world body.

“70 years back, when the horrific second World War came to an end, this organisation came into being, raising hopes of people around the world. We have gathered here to decide a new direction,” he said addressing the UN session.

Modi was addressing the UN general assembly soon after it adopted the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 --an ambitious and costly 15-year blueprint to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and combat climate change.

Modi in his 18-minute speech in Hindi called for a global focus on climate justice rather than on climate change saying it will also take into account the concerns of the poor.

The Prime Minister said his domestic policies were aligned with these goals and called for international partnerships to be centred around humanity.

“The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our enterprise for a sustainable world,” Modi said, reiterating the traditional Indian position.

As the world adopted new goals to eradicate poverty in the next 15 years, Modi spoke about India’s focus on the “personal sector” in addition to the public and private sectors.

“The world talks of public and private sector. We are looking at the personal sector. This for India means individual enterprise and innovation,” he said.

On climate change, he asked the developed nations to fulfil their responsibility of sharing technology, innovation and finances with the developing countries without having any “selfish interest”.

Modi said the aims of Agenda 2030 are ambitious and expansive in that it gives importance to the right issues and is a mature response to issues concerning the economy and environment

“There cannot be a bigger goal than protecting the environment… I believe that we can do it,” he said, while ending his speech with a shloka in Sanskrit saying all should be happy and prosperous.

Implementing the new development goals — expected to cost between $3.5 trillion and $5 trillion every year until 2030 — is the focus of the three-day sustainable development summit that includes speeches by Modi, US President Barack Obama, China’s President Xi Jinping and the leaders of Egypt, Iran, Germany, Britain and France.

The document — called Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — which sets out 17 broad goals and 169 specific targets, was adopted after opening speeches at the summit.

The 17 non-binding goals will succeed the eight millennium development goals adopted by world leaders 15 years ago. Despite significant progress, the only one achieved before this year was halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, due primarily to economic growth in China.

Among the other new goals are ensuring “healthy lives,” quality education for all, clean water, sanitation and reliable modern energy - and achieving gender equality, making cities safe, reducing inequality within and among countries, and promoting economic growth.

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