PM Narendra Modi stressed for greater reform of the United Nations in his address to the 75th UN General Assembly [UNGA]. "The international community today is faced with the question: whether the character of the institution formed in 1945 is relevant even today?" Modi questioned during his virtual address.
India has long called for UN reforms, and is part of global lobby consisting of Germany, Japan and Brazil called the 'G4', who individually and jointly advocate for decisive reforms of the UN, including a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council [UNSC], and back each other's stance to the same.
In a departure from tradition, Modi's address was given virtually via a pre-recorded message. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UNGA has moved to a virtual mode instead of the in person gathering held in New York. PM Modi, in his 22-minute address, stressed that UN has its flaws, with the problems of today being vastly different than those of the past. Modi's address comes at a time when India is set to enter the UNSC as a non-permanent member starting January 1, which the PM highlighted in his address and thanked the international community for the same.
He also questioned the United Nations about the pandemic and asked what role did they play in the fight against it. "Over the last eight to nine months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?" he asked
India Waits For Reforms
Modi said that while the UN enjoys a popularity in among Indians that would be hard to find elsewhere; they have been waiting for the UN's reforms for a long time.
On a pessimistic note, he asked, "Today, the people of India are concerned whether this reform-process will ever its logical conclusion?" In what was seemingly a reference to a permanent seat of the UNSC, he said, "For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structure of the UN?"
Modi's address follows External Affairs Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar's September 23 meeting with his counterparts from the G4, reaffirming their stance of a reformed Seucrity Council and a UN with a more-forward looking structure. While there has not been a third world war, Modi said, there have been several wars and civil wars, terrorist attacks and bloodshed - causing the loss of life and destruction - questioning the effectiveness of the UN to counter it.
A Receptive Global Partner
Citing India's positive role during the pandemic, Modi stated that Indian pharmaceutical companies have helped more than 150 countries with supplies; and assuring international community that as the world's largest vaccine producer, its capacity would be beneficial to the whole world. India would also help enhance cold-storage and supply chains of all countries when the vaccine is rolled out.
He emphasised on the scale of the schemes rolled out during his tenure, of banking (Jan Dhan), Clean India Mission ('Swacch Bharat') and healthcare ('Ayushman Bharat'), whose beneficiaries count into the millions, according to government data.
For a post-pandemic world he also spoke of a self-reliant India. "An 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' would be a force multiplier for the global economy", he said.
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