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In pics | India at the United Nations: A 71-year history in 25 photos

In the 71 years since United Nation’s inception in 1945, many Indian leaders have spoke on various critical issues. As a founding member, India has made significant contributions to the United Nations and has been at the forefront of many UN resolutions.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2016 17:43 IST
Vignesh Radharkrishnan
Vignesh Radharkrishnan
Hindustan Times
India at united nations,India history united nations,United nations India contribution
General view of the ceremony at United Nations Headquarters as the new national flag of India was hoisted on 15 August 1947 to take its place among colours of 54 other member states.(UN Photo | Caption courtesy : United Nations)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s much-awaited address at the United Nations general Assembly, where she is expected to give a stinging response to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ‘tirade’ on Kashmir, is scheduled for Monday evening.

Her address will deliver India’s ‘vision document’ for the 71st UNGA, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

In the 71 years since the United Nation’s inception in 1945, many Indian leaders have spoken on various critical issues. As a founding member, India has made significant contributions to the United Nations and has been at the forefront of many of its resolutions.

Here are snapshots of some of those moments from the UN Photo archives.


Members of a delegation from India at the first conference of the United Nations in San Francisco. (UN Photo)

Standing (left to right): Crickmay, Ollenbach, Nagar, Thampi, Felton, Jones, Hull, PA Menon, Nair, Brownsdon. Seated (left to right): General Cawthorn, Bartley, Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, (Chairman), Sir VT Krishnamachari, KPS Menon, Thomas (Names provided by UN Photo Archives. First names of some delegates not available)

Read more about the San Francisco conference here.


Sir A Ramaswami Mudaliar, leader of the delegation from India, addresses the San Francisco Conference at the third plenary session, April 28, 1945. (UN Photo)

Here is full text of his speech


Sir A Ramaswami Mudaliar, leader of the delegation from India, signs the UN Charter at a ceremony held at the Veterans’ War Memorial Building on June 26, 1945. (UN Photo)


Sub-commission on the Status of Women holds a press conference on May 14, 1946 at United Nations (Hunter College), New York. (UN Photo)

From left to right: Angela Jurdak, Lebanon; Fryderyka Kalinowski, Poland; Bodgil Begtrup. Denmark and Chairman of the committee; Minerva Bernardino, Dominican Republic; and Hansa Mehta, India.

According to a Mint article, Hansa Jivraj Mehta, served in the constituent assembly from 1946-49. She was a member of the fundamental rights sub-committee, the advisory committee and the provincial constitutional committee. On 15 August 1947, a few minutes after midnight, Mehta, on behalf of the “women of India”, presented the national flag to the assembly—the first flag to fly over independent India.

Read more on Hansa Mehta here .


India’s Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, the first woman to head a delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, at the rostrum during the 37th meeting on October 25, 1946. In 1953 she became the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly. (UN Photo )


Representatives of India and Pakistan read news of Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1947 (UN Photo)

N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, an Indian minister, and Sir Mohamed Zafrullah Khan, a Pakistani minister, read the news of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. The Security Council interrupted its consideration of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to devote its meeting to the memory of the assassinated leader.


Commission on the Status of Women of the United Nations Economic and Social Council on February 12, 1947 . (UN Photo )

India actively participated in the economic, social and humanitarian activities of the United Nations. Begum Hamid Ali, a pioneer in the field of women’s emancipation in India, represents her country on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.


New Indian flag raised at Lake Success on August 15 ,1947. (UN Photo )

General view of the ceremony at United Nations headquarters as the new national flag of India was hoisted to take its place among colours of 54 other member states.

Speaking at the observance of the coming into force of the Indian independence Act of 1947, Padmanabla Pillai, newly appointed Representative of India, back to camera, explained the significance of the Indian flag.


Security Council considers Kashmir question on January 15, 1948. (UN Photo )

N Gopalaswami Ayyangar (right), an Indian minister, confers with Padmanabha Pillai, representative of India to the United Nations, prior to the 227th Security Council meeting at which consideration of the Indian complaint against Pakistan on the Kashmir issue resumed. Ayyangar, who presented India’s case to the council, asked for action to eliminate the danger of an armed conflict between India and Pakistan, and to persuade the Pakistan government to disassociate itself from the Kashmir raiders.


Photo taken on August, 1952. (UN Photo/MB )

Interns from 28 countries worked with the United Nations in 1952. The picture above shows GV Subba Rao (left), an Indian-origin UN economic affairs officer, with Aurelia Saturnino, a student from the Philippines, during her internship with the Division of Economic Stability and Development of the UN Department of Economic Affairs.


Photo taken on May 3, 1955. (UN Photo/MB )

The American Association for the UN began a guided tour service at the United Nations headquarters in 1952 and employed about 60 women from 30 different nationalities. An average of 3,600 people visited the UN buildings daily that year. Most of the visitors were briefed in English, but briefings could be given in any of 20 other languages, upon request. Each guide conducted four tours every day. Nearly a million-and-a-half visitors took the guided tours by 1955.

The photo above shows four guides at the UN garden between tours. From left to right: Kailas Damania from India; Josie Varias from the Philippines; Leela Lakshman Rao from India; and Patricia Davidson from the United Kingdom.


During his visit to the UN headquarters, then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru met with representatives of the Commonwealth group of nations. In the photo above, Nehru listens to Sir Pierson Dixon, the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the UN on December 21, 1956. ( UN Photo/AF )


Above is a view of the General Assembly Hall as representatives give then PM Jawaharlal Nehru a standing ovation while he proceeds to take his place at the podium on November 10, 1961. Standing at the presidential desk, under the emblem, are acting UN Secretary-General U Thant (left), General Assembly president Mongi Slim (Tunisia) and Andrew W Cordier (right), Under-Secretary for General Assembly Affairs. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata )


Gopalaswami Parthasarathi, permanent representative of India to the United Nations, addressing the Security Council on September 4, 1965. Security council adopts resolution calling for immediate cease-fire in Kashmir . (UN Photo/Teddy Chen )


The above photo shows a view of a section of the Assembly Hall. In the foreground is the delegation of India headed by Samar Sen. In the background is the delegation of Pakistan headed by Agha Shahi. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata )

On December 7, 1971, the General Assembly took up issues from India and Pakistan referred to it by the Security Council under the provisions of the “Uniting for Peace” resolution of the 1950 assembly. It did so in view of the fact that “lack of unanimity of its permanent members” had prevented it “from exercising its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”.


Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then minister for foreign affairs, seen addressing the Assembly on October 4, 1977. (UN Photo/Saw Lwin )

In an address to the General Assembly, then President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, urged renewed efforts to curb nuclear weapons and pledged that his country would not use such weapons except in self-defence. Following Carter’s address, the assembly resumed the general debate, hearing a statement by Atal Bihari Vajpayee among foreign ministers from other countries.


Then prime minister Indira Gandhi addressing the General Assembly on September 28, 1983. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata)


Then PM Rajiv Gandhi addressing the General Assembly’s third special session on June 9, 1988 devoted to disarmament. Twenty-five heads of State attended the month-long session which opened 31 May and ran through 25 June. (UN Photo/John Isaac )


P V Narasimha Rao, then prime minister, addresses members of the security council on January 31, 1992 . (UN Photo/Milton Grant )

The first summit-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council was held on January 31, 1992. The meeting reaffirmed the central role of the Security Council in maintaining world peace and upholding the principle of collective security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter. Attending the meeting were 13 heads of state and governments and two foreign ministers representing the members of the Security Council. Council members issued a declaration that committed their governments to measures intended to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The declaration also invited Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to make recommendations on ways to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations in preventative diplomacy, for peace-making and peace-keeping.


Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), addresses the informal General Assembly plenary meeting on the first observance of the International Day of Non-Violence, at UN Headquarters in New York on October 2, 2007. (UN Photo/Marco Castro )


Then prime minister Manmohan Singh addresses the general debate of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly on September 24, 2011. (UN Photo/Evan Schneider )
Then external affairs minister S M Krishna addresses the MDG Summit on September 22, 2010. (UN Photo/Ky Chung )

Convened by the General Assembly, the Summit was aimed at spurring action towards achieving internationally agreed goals to reduce hunger, poverty and disease.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses General Assembly 69th session 12th plenary meeting on September 27, 2014 . (UN Photo/Cia Pak )


Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs of India, speaks at the special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, organized by the Permanent Mission of India on October 2, 2014. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

The Day of Non-Violence was commemorated on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, as an occasion to disseminate the message of non-violence.


Sachin Tendulkar, cricketer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, speaks at the launch of UN@70 on January 12, 2015, a year of activities which will celebrate the Organization’s seventieth anniversary. The special event, coinciding with India’s National Youth Day, was aptly themed: “yoUNg@70”. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

First Published: Sep 26, 2016 17:37 IST