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PM Narendra Modi to focus global at next month’s big UN event, Imran Khan to stick to Jammu and Kashmir

According to diplomats based in New York and New Delhi, as per the initial list issued by the UN, Modi will speak in the General Debate at around 7.30pm-8.00pm IST on September 27, followed by others including Khan.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2019 12:42 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27.(ANI Photo)
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, hours before Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, and speak on diverse issues such as climate change, universal health coverage, sustainable development goals, financing for development initiatives, and assistance for small island developing states (SIDS), according to people familiar with the matter.

According to diplomats based in New York and New Delhi, as per the initial list issued by the UN, Modi will speak in the General Debate at around 7.30pm-8.00pm IST on September 27, followed by others including Khan, who is expected to speak around midnight (IST) on the same day. Khan may speak earlier than his scheduled time if some other leaders drop out of the UNGA at the last minute, the people added.

While Khan is expected to spend his entire 20-minute speech on alleged human rights violations by India in Kashmir after the nullification of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution, PM Modi is not to engage with the issue maintaining India’s stand that Jammu & Kashmir is an internal matter.

Watch: Pakistan plans to keep Kashmir boiling till Imran Khan’s UNGA speech 

At most, India will use the right of reply to rebut any allegations made by PM Khan regarding the region, the people cited above said.

Pakistan is already pushing hard with its old ally China and the UK for a special session at the forthcoming meeting of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Kashmir in Geneva from September 9. Islamabad and Beijing were rebuffed by the remaining 13 members of UNSC while trying to have an open session on Kashmir during informal consultations on the issue last week, with Moscow taking a position that the issue should be handled bilaterally.

Contrary to media reports, UK, in the first round of consultations, wanted a statement out of the UN Security Council on Kashmir. When they realised that they were saddled with China and Pakistan, UK refrained from saying anything in the second round.

Modi will reach New York on September 23 after a meeting with the Indian community in Houston. He will leave for India after his UNGA speech, but will meet several global leaders during the event. There is no bilateral meeting scheduled with US President Trump on the UNGA sidelines, but the two leaders will exchange notes at this month’s G7 Summit in France, where Modi will go as a special invitee.

“PM Modi will have a global audience in mind when he addresses the UNGA rather than discuss on an internal matter like Jammu & Kashmir. PM Khan can spend his entire speech on Kashmir but that will not lead to any outcome,” said a diplomat at the UN.

Since article 370 and 35A were nullified by Modi government in Parliament, Pakistan has been trying to make it an international issue and has called for UNSC intervention in Kashmir, but to no avail.

Modi addressed the 69th UNGA in September 2014.

First Published: Aug 19, 2019 23:26 IST