PM Modi At UNGA: UN Reform Is ‘The Need Of The Hour’

PM Modi At UNGA: UN Reform Is 'The Need Of The Hour'

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.

75th UN General Assembly Session Held

75th UN General Assembly Session Held

As the 75th UN General Assembly meet was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic, let us take a look at what the leaders said in context of the worldwide situations as well as their interpersonal relations.

Crux of the Matter

Virtual Meet
The 75th anniversary of the United Nations was marked this year, which was formed when World War II ended in 1945. The UN General Assembly meeting was held online this year from 22 September, with pre-recorded messages from World Leaders being played.

Donald Trump (US President)
Trump continued blaming China for Covid-19 damage while describing the achievements of his tenure. Some of his statements are given here:

We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy, the China virus, which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries.

Even as [China] canceled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes, the Chinese government and the World Health Organization, which is virtually controlled by China, falsely declared that there was no evidence of human to human transmission.

Our military has increased substantially in size. We spent $2.5 trillion over the last four years on our military. We have the most powerful military anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close.

Xi Jinping (Chinese President)
Jinping downplayed China’s expansionism, took covert jibe at the US and made grand promises.

We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence. We have no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot war with any country.

We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

In particular, major countries should act like major countries. They should provide more global public goods, take up their due responsibilities and live up to people’s expectations

Vladimir Putin (Russian President)
Putin offered aid to the UN members while pushing for more open trading across the world.

Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance; in particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices.

I would like to draw attention once again to Russia’s proposal to create so-called ”green corridors“ free from trade wars and sanctions.

In general, freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment.

Emmanuel Macron (French President)
Macron discussed a multipolar world besides the US and China while highlighting unlawful actions being taken across the world.

The world as it is today cannot come down to simple rivalry between China and the United States, no matter the global weight of these two great powers.

I repeat once more to Russia the need for full light to be shed on the murder attempt on a political opposition figure using a nerve agent, Novichok.

We will not compromise on the activation of a mechanism that the United States is not in a position to activate on its own after leaving the agreement (reactivated sanctions on Iran by the US).

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkish President)
Erdogan raised the issue of Kashmir, again.

The Kashmir conflict, which is also key to the stability and peace in South Asia, is still a burning issue. Steps taken following the abolition of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir further complicated the problem.

In order for the Kashmiri people to look at a safe future together with their Pakistani and Indian neighbours, it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, but not through collision.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey in 2019 UN General Assembly

Narendra Modi
Modi called for structural reforms while declaring a need for “multilateralism”.

The declaration acknowledges the need for reform in the United Nation itself. You cannot fight today’s challenges with outdated structures.

Without comprehensive reforms, the UN faces a crisis of confidence. For today’s interconnected world, we need a reformed multilateralism that reflects today’s realities.

T S Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, tweeted that “Turkey should learn to respect sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply”.

  • The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the United Nations. It establishes the purposes, governing structure, and overall framework of the UN system, including its six principal organs.
  • The secretary-general of the United Nations is the chief administrative officer of the United Nations and head of the United Nations Secretariat. As of 2020, the secretary-general is former prime minister of Portugal António Guterres.
  • Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Indo-China Tensions Boil Over UN Meeting

Indo-China Tensions Boil Over UN Meeting

India and China expressed mutual animosity at the latest UN meeting, with both sides receiving support from their respective allies.

Crux of the Matter

India Speaks Up For Hong Kong
At the latest United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, India supported Hong Kong against China and asked the latter to respect the fundamental rights of the HK citizens. In its statement, India asked China to “address the issues properly, seriously and objectively”.

Pakistan And China
On 29 June 2020, a terrorist attack occurred on the Karachi Stock Exchange. 10 casualties were reported, while the 4 terrorists were eliminated. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army. However, Pakistan PM Imran Khan claimed that the attack was facilitated by India.

China initiated the condemnation of the attacks in the UN Security Council. However, the process was delayed by extensions taken by Germany and US, reported as signs of support to India. Eventually, the UNSC condemned the attacks in Pakistan, but did not mention or blame India.

US Support On India’s Chinese App Ban
Recently, India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country. The step received support from the US, which stated that the move will enhance India’s “sovereignty and security”.

We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that can serve as appendages of the CCP’s surveillance state. India’s Clean App approach will boost India’s sovereignty. It will also boost India’s integrity and national security, as the Indian Government itself has stated.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

  • The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was established on 11 January 2016 after the merger of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. PSX’s origins were laid with the establishment of the Karachi Stock Exchange in 1947, the Lahore Stock Exchange in 1970 and the Islamabad Stock Exchange in 1992.
  • The Republic of China used its Security Council veto only once, to stop the admission of the Mongolian People’s Republic to the United Nations in 1955 on the grounds it recognized all of Mongolia as part of China. Although as of June 2012, the People’s Republic of China had used its Security Council veto eight times.
  • United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was an international relief agency, largely dominated by the United States but representing 44 nations. Founded in 1943, it became part of the United Nations in 1945, and it largely shut down operations in 1947. The Republic Of China co-founded UNRRA.

UN Freezes Peacekeeping Missions; Trump-WHO Fight Continues

In view of the pandemic Coronavirus, the United Nations announced that it has halted the rotation and deployment of UN peacekeepers till June 30 to prevent the spread of the virus.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Who are Peacekeepers?
United Nations’ Peacekeepers are troops, military personnel, cops or volunteers deployed to bring lasting peace in nations torn with war and conflict. There are more than 100,000 peacekeepers deployed across the globe. European Union, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are major contributors to the peacekeepers. Currently, the peacekeepers, popularly known as blue berets, are deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mali, and South Sudan. They may need to keep operating given the sensitive situation.

UN’s Woes
The United Nations is facing a two-fold challenge with the peacekeepers: looking after the safety of them and worrying about governments calling them back home. One concern of nations can be that if their men/women get infected with Coronavirus, they will not be taken care of properly in the conflict-hit nations, and therefore may urge to bring them back.

We very much hope that the Member States will work with us. I think no one wants to see UN peacekeeping operations being a vector for the spread of COVID-19.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman of UN Chief

The United Nations, therefore, announced that it will halt all rotation of troops from and to the conflict zones. UN has also affirmed that it is taking precautionary measures to make sure the soldiers do not get infected, infect other soldiers or locals. The pandemic has not yet attacked Africa with full throttle, but if it does, the UN is a step ahead in regions where peacekeepers are deployed, as per the UN.

When an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Nepalese peacekeepers were deployed there for assistance. These peacekeepers infected local people with Cholera that turned into an epidemic that took at least 10,000 lives.

Vexed Tedros
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a subsidiary of UN. In a press briefing, Donald Trump said that WHO seemed to be very China-centric. He cited that his preemptive measure of travel ban to China was also disapproved by WHO. WHO chief Tedros has been applauding measures taken by China when many nations across the world are unhappy with it for opaqueness in information sharing. Trump also threatened to block the US’ funding of the WHO. The US is the largest contributor to the funds received by WHO.

Please don’t politicise this virus. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicising it.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Chief

In response, WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who is also the first non-medical chief of the WHO, said that political parties should not politicise the issue and that China and US should come together to fight the dangerous enemy. WHO is getting some heat for delays in declaring this outbreak pandemic. Tedros said he is facing death threats, racial slurs, and personal attacks due to the pandemic. Last week two scientists suggested that Africa could be a good testing ground for COVID-19 vaccine, and in response to that Dr. Tedros said that he would not tolerate when the whole black community is insulted.

  • Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace.
  • At the time when US threats to stop funding to WHO, American billionaire Jack Dorsey has pledged $1 billion (around 28% of his wealth) to fight coronavirus, which is highest by any individual.
  • On January 14th, a tweet by WHO backed a Chinese report stating that there were no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of Coronavirus.

India's Brawny Response to UN & Iran Over Comments on CAA, Delhi Violence

UN body filed a plea against CAA in the Supreme Court of India. Moreover, Iran commented on violence in Delhi. In turn, India gave a strong response to UNHRC and Iran over their interference in the internal matters of India.

Crux of the Matter

World and India
Recently passed Acts of India, CAA and Abrogation of Article 370 have drawn international attention and are being questioned on the basis of democratic values. There have been persistent protests against CAA, which took a violent turn in Delhi in the past few days. Pro and anti CAA groups clash began the violence and it resulted in the death of around 40 people and injured hundreds of people.

The European Union had attempted to shed some light on the Act and questioned it from the lens of Human Rights. But after the Delhi riots, Iran also jumped into twitter politics and commented on the current scenarios of India. However, India responded very clearly over its stand on the matters saying it is India’s internal matter.

The United States President Donald Trump on his visit to India said that Prime Minister Modi had told him that he (Modi) wants people to have religious freedom. He further added that it is up to India what actions should be taken over its internal matters.

India and United Nations
Considering CAA as a discriminatory act based on the religion UN body led by Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for human rights filed a plea against CAA in the Supreme Court of India. UN filed the plea on the ground of Amicus Curiae, where the third party has a right to intervene in the matter by virtue of the mandate to protect and promote human rights. The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) appreciated and accepted the “stated purpose of the CAA” to protect people facing atrocities but have questioned the exclusion of persecuted Muslims from it.

The citizenship Amendment Act is an internal matter of India and Concerns the sovereign rights of the Indian Parliaments to make laws. We strongly believe that no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty.

– Ministry of External Affairs

“We are clear that the CAA is constitutionally valid and complies with all requirements of our Constitutional values. It is reflective of our long-standing national commitment with respect to human rights issues arising from the tragedy of the partition of India,” the Ministry added further.

India and Iran
India-Iran bilateral relations are at a very steady and progressive pace for the past few years. Despite US sanctions on Iran, India has maintained a very stable relationship with Iran in trade and other sectors. Iran has always refrained from getting involved in the internal matters of India, but the Delhi violence lured Iran to make a comment on the situation. It must be noted that Iran was the first Islamic state to lift sanctions from India in 1994. These sanctions were imposed because of the demolition of Babri Masjid.

Iran expressed its discontent over the incident of riots in Delhi. Javad Zarif, Minister of External Affairs of Iran further added, “For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the well-being of ALL Indians & not let ‘senseless’ thuggery prevail.”

India did not appreciate Iran’s comment and summoned the Iranian Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni and expressed discontent over Iran’s comments on India’s internal issues. Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar from India said, “It was conveyed that his selective and tendentious characterization of recent events in Delhi is not acceptable. We don’t accept such comments from a country like Iran.” Dilip Sinha, Former Indian diplomat to Iran said, “It is difficult to explain Iran (foreign minister’s) statement except that Tehran feels compelled to make statements based on their civilizational prerogative.”


India-Iran relations
India–Iran relations refers to the bilateral relations between the countries India and Iran. Independent India and Iran established diplomatic relations on 15 March 1950. During much of the Cold War period, relations between the Republic of India and the erstwhile Imperial State of Iran suffered due to their different political interests—non-aligned India fostered strong military links with the Soviet Union, while Iran enjoyed close ties with the United States. More Info