India wants Hindi as an official UN language, but lobbying could cost Rs 400 cr
According to the UN rules, support of two-third member countries (129 nations) is required out of the total 193 member nations to make a language an official one.Updated: Jan 03, 2018 17:39 IST
India is ready to bear all expenses, if necessary up to Rs 400 crore, to make Hindi one of the official languages of the United Nations but its rules for acquiring such a status prevents the country from doing so, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.
According to the UN rules, support of two-third member countries (129 nations) is required out of the total 193 member nations, Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
Besides, all member nations will have to bear the cost of making Hindi one of the official languages of the UN.
“The problem comes when apart from voting, the burden of the amount also falls on them. Economically weaker countries that support us shy away from this. We are working on it, we are making attempts to get support of countries like Fiji, Mauritius, Surinam... where people of Indian origin are there.
“When we get that kind of support and they are also ready to bear the financial burden, it will become an official language,” she said.
When a BJP member said that India has to pay Rs 40 crore as cost for making Hindi one of the languages in the UN, the minister the government is ready to pay “even Rs 400 crore if required” but the world body’s rules does not allow to do so.
Swaraj also highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and she had spoken in the UN in Hindi.
“Even when we have (foreign) guests, if they speak in English, we speak in English. If they speak in their own language, we speak in Hindi. As far as glory of the language is concerned, the External Affairs Ministry never had so much work done in Hindi as now,” she said.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asked why India should make the effort to make Hindi as one of the languages in the UN as it is only India’s official language and not the national language.
“The question is what purpose is being served by this. If indeed we have a Prime Minister or Foreign Minister who prefers to speak Hindi, they can do so and we can pay to get that speech to be translated. Why should we put our future Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers who may be from Tamil Nadu in a position...” he said.
“The government has to defend its position. I understand the pride of Hindi-speaking people, but people of this country who do not speak in Hindi also take pride in being Indian,” he said.
The statement did not go well with several members of the treasury benches who raised the pitch in protest.
Swaraj said Hindi was spoken in several other countries as well as by the Indian diaspora abroad. “Saying Hindi is spoken only in India is your ignorance.”