Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, at the United Nations General Assembly’s 75th session, advocated institutional reforms of the international organisation and inclusion of India in its Security Council.
In a 20-minute pre-recorded speech which was delivered virtually in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister recalled the historical context in which the UN was set up in 1945. Though he acknowledged that the UN had several accomplishments to its credit but he pointed to the failure of the world body to prevent dozens of wars, civil wars and terror attacks in the last seven decades.
The UN, he said, needs to seriously introspect. “Thousands of people like you and me, were humans too. Lakhs of children vanished, lakhs became homeless. Were the efforts of the UN at that time and even now, adequate?” Modi asked in an evocative address.
For the last eight months, the world is combating the coronavirus pandemic, he pointed out while asking emphatically, “Where is the United Nations in that battle? Where is the collective and effective response to this crisis?”
The Prime Minister argued that institutional and structural reforms of the UN are a necessity of our times. The UN commands huge respect in India, he said adding that it is equally true that Indians have been waiting for the completion of the reforms for long. “Indians are worried and wondering if these reforms would ever reach a logical end. They have been asking till how long will India be kept out of the UN’s decision making structure?” he said.
In a strong pitch for granting India a seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC), the Prime Minister highlighted the nation’s role in the world and global peace. “For how long will a country which is the world’s largest democracy, a country with more than 18 per cent of the world’s population, a country with hundreds of languages, hundreds of dialects, many creeds, many ideologies, have to wait?” he asked.
“When we were strong, we did not trouble the world; when we were oppressed, we did not burden the world either,” Prime Minister Modi said adding that India’s philosophical values were in alignment with the founding principles of the UN.
“India will always use its experience as a pluralistic culture and democracy for the benefit of the world, humanity, security, progress and prosperity. We will always raise our voice against the enemies of humanity, human race and human valuesa- terrorism, arms smuggling, drugs, money laundering,” he said.
The Prime Minister assured the world community that India will continue to help the world as it has even during the current coronavirus pandemic. He informed the Assembly that India is headed towards phase three of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine. “India will provide help to everyone,” he said.
While recounting how India has been dealing with its challenges, the Prime Minister explained his vision for self-reliant India and how it would be a force multiplier for the global economy.
Interestingly, Modi completely ignored Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s diatribe against his government at the UN on Friday.