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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

PM Modi in UNGA address: ‘Where is United Nations in Covid-19 fight’

PM Modi also questioned for how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations, asserting that reform in the responses, processes and in the very character of the global body is the "need of the hour."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 27, 2020 7:43:21 am
PM Modi, PM Modi UN speech, PM Modi speech at UN, UN Security Council, UN Security Council India, India UN Security Council member, Express Opinion, Indian ExpressPrime Minister Narendra Modi (DD/PTI Photo)

Addressing the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday raised questions on the response of the global body to the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed nearly one million people and infected over 32 million worldwide.

The Prime Minister listed out India’s priorities and its role in the global setup, assuring its cooperation in dealing with the pandemic. Highlighting India’s achievements and role in 75 years of the United Nations, Modi called for reforms with “changing times” and India’s inclusion in the decision-making process within the global body.

Strong push for UN reforms

In his pre-recorded video statement to the landmark general debate of the 75th session of the UNGA, PM Modi questioned for how long will India, the world’s largest democracy and home to 1.3 billion people, be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations, asserting that reform in the responses, processes and in the very character of the global body is the “need of the hour.”

“When we were strong, we were never a threat to the world, when we were weak, we never become a burden on the world,” he said.

The prime minister’s strong push for UN reforms and the much-delayed expansion of the powerful Security Council came as India takes over a non-permanent member’s position at the United Nations Security Council from January 2021 for a period of two years.

“For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations? How long would a country have to wait particularly when the transformational changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?” Modi asked.

“Today, people of India are concerned whether this reform-process will ever reach its logical conclusion,” he said, adding that every Indian today, while seeing the contribution of India in the world organisation, aspires for India’s expanded role in the United Nations.

On Covid pandemic and India’s cooperation in vaccine production

While questioning the response of the United Nations in dealing with the pandemic, PM Modi assured the global community that India will use its production and delivery capacity to help all humanity in fighting the virus.

“Over the last 8 to 9 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?” Modi said as he asserted that reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour.

In an assurance to the global community, PM Modi said that “even during these very difficult times of the pandemic, India’s pharmaceutical industry has sent essential medicines to over 150 countries.”

“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,” he said.

On tackling pandemic with Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign

PM Modi also enunciated his government’s ambitious AatmaNirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant) campaign, saying a self-reliant India will be a “force multiplier” for the global economy.

“In the changed circumstances of the post-pandemic era, we are moving forward with the vision of a ‘Self-reliant India’,” he said, adding “a self-reliant India will also be a force multiplier for the global economy.”

To address the economic stress brought by the pandemic, the Modi government had announced an over Rs 20 lakh crore AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign to ease the economic impact of the virus and the subsequent lockdowns enforced to contain its spread.

“Following the mantra of ‘Reform-Perform-Transform’, India has made great efforts to bring about transformation in the lives of millions of its citizens,” he said.

“In just about 4-5 years, India has brought over 400 million people into the formal financial sector. In the same period, 600 million people have been freed from open defecation. This was not an easy task. But India has proved that it can be done,” he said.

The Prime Minister said his government has ensured that there is no discrimination in extending the benefits of all the schemes and initiatives to every citizen of the country. “Large scale efforts are being made in India to promote women entrepreneurship and leadership. Indian women, today, are the biggest beneficiaries of the largest microfinancing scheme of the world,” he said adding India is one of those countries where women are provided paid maternity leave of 26 weeks.

On terrorism and friendships with neighbours

The Prime Minister said that a gesture of friendship by India towards one country is not directed against any third country. He also emphasised that when India strengthens its development partnership with a country it was not with any “malafide intent” of making the partner country “dependent or hapless.”

He explained that from India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ to views on the Indo-Pacific region, the country has always worked for the interests of humankind. “Any gesture of friendship by India towards one country is not directed against any third country. When India strengthens its development partnership, it is not with any malafide intent of making the partner country dependent or hapless,” Modi emphasised.

“We have never hesitated from sharing experiences of our development,” he said. In his virtual address, PM Modi said that on October 2, India initiated the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ and on June 21 the ‘International Day of Yoga’.

He further said: “India will always speak in support of peace, security and prosperity. India will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, human race and human values – these include terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering.”

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