Sushma Swaraj likely to focus on reforms, ‘Terroristan’ Pakistan in UN address | world news | Hindustan Times
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Sushma Swaraj likely to focus on reforms, ‘Terroristan’ Pakistan in UN address

Sushma Swaraj’s address at the UN general assembly will come a day after Indian diplomat Eenam Gambhir gave a stinging riposte to Pakistan Prime Minister allegations against New Delhi

world Updated: Sep 23, 2017 17:51 IST
Yashwant Raj
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj addressing the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York in 2015.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj addressing the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York in 2015. (Reuters file photo)

When external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj takes the podium at the UN general assembly Saturday, she is expected to deliver a speech that will take a broad-based thematic approach to India’s global vision, expectations and policies regarding the world body, without skipping specific references.

Swaraj will refer to Pakistan, of course, in the context of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s charges against India in his speech — of war crimes in Kashmir, for instance — and “she will go beyond what we said in our right of reply”, an official said on background, which was, calling Pakistan “Terroristan” and the “land of pure terror”.

But the external affairs minister’s speech will be “more broad-based” and thematic, focused on five key elements — UN reforms to expand the security council, counter-terrorism,, climate change, south-and-south cooperations (among developing nations) and peacekeeping and “peace-building”.

Swaraj is expected to renew the appeal for speeding up the reforms process to expand the UN security council, to make it reflect the changing world order, and give emerging powers such as India a permanent seat. India’s claim to one is backed by four of the five permanent members; China is the sole holdout.

Previewing India’s agenda for this UN general assembly, Indian permanent representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin said earlier this week in the context of UN administrative reforms, “You cannot have reform only of the secretariat; reforms cannot sidestep issue relating to governance of UN bodies”.

Counter-terrorism it likely to hold an equally important position in Swaraj’s speech, with emphasis on terrorist attack India continues to face from across its western border. India has been relentless on this issue, and will continue to raise it forcefully as it can, putting its chief backer, Pakistan, front and centre.

“There are nations in our midst that still speak the language of terrorism,” Swaraj had said in 2016. “They nurture it, peddle it and export it. Sheltering terrorists has become the calling card of such nations. We must identify those nations and hold them to account.” She had gone on to name Pakistan.

As this year, then Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had accused India of human rights violations in Kashmir. In response, Swaraj had said that “the Prime Minister of Pakistan used this rostrum to make baseless allegations about human rights violations in my country. I can say only that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to look within and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own countries, including in Balochistan. The brutality against the Baluch people represents the worst form of State oppression.”

Climate change is expected to figure significantly as well, specially in the context of US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Swaraj may not mention the US decision, but is likely to take the opportunity to reiterate strongly India’s commitment to the accord and its own mitigation goals.

The permanent representative had also mentioned while previewing India’s agenda, people-centric issue of migration and peace-building and peace-keeping by the UN, of which India is a leading contributor. In 2016, Swaraj spoke about the need in respect to peacekeeping operations, “adequate consultations with troop-contributing countries before framing mandates for United Nations peacekeeping operations”.