For how long will India be kept out of UN’s decision-making structure?: PM Modi at UNGA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a strong pitch for India’s inclusion as a permanent member of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as he asked how long will his country be “kept out of the decision-making structures” of the global body.
The Prime Minister said every Indian aspires for India’s expanded role in the United Nations as they see the country’s contribution while addressing the virtual 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). His address in Hindi was a pre-recorded video statement which was broadcast at the UNGA hall in New York as it is being conducted mostly virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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“Today, the people of India are concerned whether this reform process will ever reach its logical conclusion. For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?” PM Modi asked at UNGA.
It is a fact that the faith and respect that the UN enjoys among the 1.3 billion people in India is unparalleled, he pointed out.
“When we were strong, we were never a threat to the world. When we were weak, we never become a burden on the world. How long would a country have to wait particularly when the transformational changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?” he said in his nearly 22-minute speech.
“This is a country, which has hundreds of languages, hundreds of dialects, many sects and many ideologies. This is a country, which was a leading global economy for centuries and also one which has endured hundreds of years of foreign rule. How long would a country have to wait particularly when the transformational changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?” he asked.
He also referred to India’s contributions to about 50 UN peace missions over the decades.
“India has always given priority to the welfare of the whole world. India is the country, which sent its brave soldiers to about 50 peacekeeping missions the world over to keep the peace. India is that country, which in the course of maintaining peace, has lost the maximum number of its brave soldiers Today every Indian, while seeing the contribution of India in the United Nations, aspires for India’s expanded role in the United Nations,” he said.
Barring China, all other four permanent members of the UNSC have expressed support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the security council.
PM Modi’s speech came ahead of India taking a seat at the powerful UN Security Council as an elected non-permanent member for two years from January 1, 2021. India will focus on the “5 S approach” of samman (respect), samvad (dialogue), sahyog (cooperation), shanti (peace) and samriddhi (prosperity) during its stint as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
Need for change
He also said that the United Nations need to change its reactions, arrangements and appearance to stay relevant. “Today we are in a different era all together... There is a big question in front of the whole world community that whether the institution that was formed under the circumstances of that time is still relevant today,” PM Modi said during his address.
“If we evaluate the achievements of the United Nations in the last 75 years, many achievements are seen. There are also many examples, which raise the need for serious introspection in front of the United Nations,” Modi said. “Reform in the responses, processes and in the very character of the UN is the need of the hour,” he added.
He also said India is proud to be one of the founding members of the global body.
PM Modi’s speech came after his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan’s reference to Kashmir and criticism of the Indian government in his address to the UN General Assembly. Khan had on Friday made repeated references to India and the Kashmir issue in a pre-recorded video statement. The Pakistani leader had called on the world community to prosecute Indian personnel allegedly involved in “state terrorism” and “crimes against humanity” in Jammu and Kashmir.
India had dismissed Khan’s reference, saying the neighbouring country’s unrelenting support to terrorism poses a threat to global security. The Indian delegate present in the General Assembly, Mijito Vinito, first secretary at the Indian mission to the UN, had walked out as Khan’s video statement was being played.
India subsequently exercised its “right of reply” to respond to Khan’s speech. “Let me assert here loud and clear: The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India. The rules and legislation brought in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are strictly internal affairs of India,” Vinito, said.
“The only dispute left in Kashmir relates to that part of Kashmir that is still under illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to vacate all those areas that it is in illegal occupation of,” Vinito, a diplomat from the 2010 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), said. Vinito said Khan’s address marked a “new low” on the 75th anniversary of the UN.
The theme of the debate for 2020 is - ‘The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.’