Where is the UN in joint fight against Covid-19 pandemic?: PM Modi at UNGA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday fervently pressed the UN general assembly to speed up reforms of its processes and organs to reflect contemporary realities and reiterated India’s case for a permanent membership of the Security Council demanding to know how long it would be “kept out of the decision-making structures” of the world body.
“The people of India have been waiting for a long time for the process for the reforms of the United Nations to get completed,” the Prime Minister said. “Today, people of India are concerned whether this reform-process will ever reach its logical conclusion,” he added.
“For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?” he asked, a rhetorical question that conveyed India’s increasing frustration with the process, which does not even have a negotiating document to show for progress for the years of discussion.
To underscore the disconnect between the world body and contemporary realties, PM Modi pointed to the lack of UN leadership on the Covid-19 pandemic, the worst health crisis facing the world in more than 100 years. “Over the last 8 to 9 months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the Coronavirus,” he said.
“Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?” the Prime Minister asked.
The UN was criticized for “missing in action” in the early days of the pandemic and the Security Council, the world body’s top decision-making body, was seen to have finally taken cognizance of the pandemic only in July adopting a resolution calling for cessation of all hostilities, months after the deadly pathogen had infected people all over the world.
“Reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour,” PM Modi said.
This was the second time in a week that the Prime Minister had expressed India’s frustration on UN reforms. He had slammed it as “crisis of confidence” in a speech at a one-day meeting of the world body on Monday to commemorate 75 years of its founding.
Manjeev Puri, a former top Indian diplomat to the UN, said the Prime Minister’s message to the UN was very clear on Saturday: “If you don’t remain relevant, you will not be around to solve the problems you were created to solve.”
While making the case for India, the Prime Minister underlined the responsible role it has played historically through contributions to UN’s peacekeeping efforts right down to the present time in helping the world combat the pandemic.
“Even during these very difficult times of the raging pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry of India has sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries,” he said.
He added: “As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.”
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