Yesterday, Prime Minister (PM) Modi addressed the 76th United Nations General Assembly, covering a wide range of issues, including climate change, terrorism, poverty alleviation, developments in Afghanistan, and UN Security Council reform.
He also targeted Pakistan for its support to the terror groups and China for violating the international rules-based order. However, PM Modi did not mention either country by name. In contrast, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had named India more than a dozen times in a speech focused on Kashmir.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also talked about democracy in India, terming India the "mother of all democracies". He also referred to his journey as a politician as an example. "I represent a country known as the mother of all democracies," PM Modi said, adding that India had entered its 75th year of Independence but had democratic traditions for thousands of years.
"Our diversity is a symbol of our strong democracy, where dozens of languages and hundreds of dialects are examples of a vibrant democracy. It is Indian democracy's strength that a small child who once helped his father at a tea stall is today representing India as its Prime Minister at the UN General Assembly," he said.
The Prime Minister's speech at the United Nations comes a day after his visit to Washington. He met United States (US) President Joseph Biden; Vice-President Kamala Harris; Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga; and Australian PM Scott Morrison. In the meet, he had underlined the need for strengthening democracy and respecting human rights.
PM Modi spent a considerable part of his speech on India's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the scientific development of vaccines, including a "DNA vaccine, an MRNA vaccine and a nasal vaccine". He extended an invitation to global vaccine manufacturers to "come, come to India and make vaccines".
He also mentioned the government's decision to restart vaccine exports through the international COVAX alliance. PM Modi said that India had "resumed the process of providing vaccines to those who need it most in the world."
Response to Pakistan PM
In his speech, Khan had accused PM Modi's government of promoting "hate-filled Hindutva ideology, propagated by the fascist RSS-BJP regime, [that] has unleashed a reign of fear and violence against India's 200 million-strong Muslim community".
"Those who use terrorism as a political tool have to understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them," PM Modi said.
In reference to Pakistan's role in Afghanistan, he said, "regressive mindsets were giving terrorism a political meaning". "We must be alert that no country uses Afghanistan's vulnerability for its own selfish interests to use it as a tool," he added.
"In Afghanistan, minorities need help. We should fulfil our responsibility... Our seas are our shared assets. We must make sure we use these resources and not abuse them. Seas are also lifelines of international trade. We must keep them away from the race of expansion and exclusion," PM Modi said.
Earlier, in response to Pakistan Khan's UNGA speech, Indian diplomat at the UN mission Sneha Dubey said he had "misused the UN platform to spread propaganda", and accused Pakistan of giving terrorists a "free pass", actively "harbouring and aiding" them while minorities faced attacks in the country.
"We keep hearing that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. This country is an arsonist disguising itself as a firefighter," Dubey said, adding, "Pakistan nurtures terrorists in their backyard in the hope that they will only harm their neighbours. Our region, and in fact the entire world, has suffered because of their policies. On the other hand, they are trying to cover up sectarian violence in their country as acts of terror."
Credibility of UN
Batting for an expanded Security council and multilateral reform, PM Modi said the credibility of the UN and other global governance bodies had been dented by the climate crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, the international proxy war and terrorism, and the events in Afghanistan.
PM Modi said "when the right action is not taken at the right time, then time ensures the failure of action," quoting from Chanakya's foreign policy treatise Arthashastra. "If the UN wants to remain relevant it will need to improve its effectiveness and enhance its reliability," he added.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.