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At United Nations meet, Sushma Swaraj calls for end to conflicts

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj named no country or entity while appealing for an end to conflicts, but the call against terror has been a continuing and pressing theme for India at the United Nations.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2018 23:27 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
United Nations,Sushma Swaraj,terror
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with her Australian counterpart Marise Payne during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, on Monday.(PTI)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday called on world leaders at a peace summit at the UN General Assembly to work to end “conflicts, terror and hateful ideologies that are transcending borders”.

Swaraj named no country or entity but the call against terror has been a continuing and pressing theme for India at the global forum, as the world’s third-most affected country.

She had a busy first day at the UN on Monday, before the start of the General Assembly debate, holding nine bilateral meetings with counterparts from across the world, including Australia, Spain and Nepal.

“Our world is still beset with conflicts, terror and hateful ideologies that are transcending borders and impacting our lives,” Swaraj said at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on Monday. “No one should be allowed to support terror or its perpetration.”

India has been at the forefront at the UN to call for an end to terrorism, and especially to prevent member nations from supporting terror and terrorist organisations as a tool of foreign policy.

Joined by the US, Britain and France, India has been trying in recent years to persuade a committee appointed by the UN Security Council to designate Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), as a global terrorist to prevent him travelling abroad and to force member nations to freeze his assets and deny him access to weapons.

Batting for Pakistan, where elements support and fund the JeM, China has repeatedly blocked these efforts.

“Our collective survival as a global family requires that the wisdom of pioneering leaders such as Mandela should remain as our moral compass,” Swaraj said at the summit. “We, Indians, consider Madiba (Mandela’s clan name used as a sign of respect) to be one of our own. We are proud to call him a Bharat Ratna — a Jewel of India.”

Among Swaraj’s bilateral meetings was one with foreign minister Marise Payne of Australia, a member of the Quadrilateral security dialogue. The Quad is a group of four nations with the US and Japan that is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“Strategic partnership gaining momentum!” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted about the meeting. “Continuing our frequent engagement at the highest level.”

About Swaraj’s meeting with foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali of Nepal, a neighbour that has received unprecedented attention from the Modi government, Kumar tweeted: “Close neighbour and a friend! … (they) took stock of our bilateral relationship.”

Swaraj has a string of bilateral meetings on Tuesday too, among them one with Ibrahim al-Eshaiqer al-Jafari, the foreign minister of Iraq, the second largest supplier of crude oil to India, which is facing pressure to cut imports from Iran, one of three largest suppliers.

Swaraj will also meet counterparts from Brazil, Germany and Japan, the G-4 nations. The four nations are seeking UN reforms to reflect the changing world order and expansion of permanent membership of the Security Council that has remained unchanged since its inception.

First Published: Sep 25, 2018 23:25 IST