In the latest address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) by PM Modi of India. the major highlight coming out was his questioning the relevancy of the board as well as the inadequate position provided to India, the largest democracy in the world.
Crux of the Matter
PM Modi Addresses The 75th UNGA
On 26 September 2020, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, made an address to the 75th United Nations General Assembly. Recorded video messages of leaders were played in the virtually held meeting due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
PM Modi raised the issue of the functioning of the UN as well as India’s role in his recorded address.
Key Points Raised By PM Modi
- “Introspection” is required for the UN as the “world of 1945 was significantly different from today’s world”.
- Questioned efficiency of the organization as the World has “successfully avoided a third world war, but [one] cannot deny that there have been several wars and many civil wars”.
- Raised doubts over the role of the UN during the pandemic as he asked that “where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?”
Role Of India In The UN
A country that laid the foundations of the UN, India has been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 8th time. It would serve its 2-year term from 2021. However, calls for India to be elected as a Permanent Member of the UNSC have increased in recent years.
UN Security Council has 5 permanent members – China, Russia, France, the UK, and the US. Controversies have continued since long as India was reportedly offered a permanent member seat by the US and the Soviet Union to replace China. However, PM Nehru rejected the reports, claiming that he didn’t want India to get embroiled in the Cold War between the two nations and didn’t want enmity with China.
In his address, Modi claimed that “the faith and respect that the United Nations enjoys in India are unparalleled”. However, he also added that “the people of India have been waiting for a long time for the completion of the reforms of the United Nations. For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?”
Why Should India Be Added?
At the UNGA, Modi then highlighted facts about India in favour of adding it to the “decision-making structures”:
- India, currently the largest democracy in the world containing 18% of the world’s population, has prevailed as the “leading global economy for centuries”.
- India has a tradition of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (whole world is a family) which is also the ideal of the UN.
- India has sent soldiers to over 50 UN peacekeeping missions. In the process, it has lost 163 peacekeepers since the UN’s inception – more than any country in the world.
- ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ (2 October) and ‘International Day of Yoga’ (21 June) were initiated by India. It also played a key role in founding the ‘International Solar Alliance’ and the ‘Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure’.
- Modi claimed that “when India strengthens its development partnership, it is not with any malafide intent of making the partner country dependent or hapless”, taking an indirect hint at China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- India supplied “essential medicines to more than 150 countries” even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Modi also provided assurance that as “the largest vaccine producing country of the world…India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis”.
To read about what leaders of other nations said at the 75th UN General Assembly meeting, read this story: 75th UN General Assembly Session Held
- Ahimsa is an ancient Indian principle of nonviolence which applies to all living beings. It is a key virtue in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
- The League of Nations was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 following the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War.
- The Group of 77 (G77) at the UN is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the UN. Seventy-seven nations founded the organization, but by November 2013 the organization had since expanded to 133 member countries.