Prime Min­is­ter Modi in the United Na­tions

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Gen­eral V.P. Ma­lik (Retd)

IT IS NOT EASY to knit to­gether In­dia’s cul­tural her­itage, do­mes­tic and re­gional chal­lenges with those of the globe in a 32-minute ad­dress to nearly 200 heads of na­tions who had con­gre­gated to vi­su­alise the “post2015 de­vel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties to de­ter­mine the na­ture of in­ter­nal co­op­er­a­tion and al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources.”

That is what In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi did in his maiden ad­dress in the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly on Septem­ber 28, 2014. This was done with a can­did ex­po­si­tion of where the world has gone wrong and how it needs to move for­ward on key global is­sues. With that ad­dress, he made it clear that he had ar­rived as a global states­man and was keen to make a dif­fer­ence!

Right in the be­gin­ning, Modi made his sta­tus and po­si­tion clear to the global gath­er­ing as a po­lit­i­cal leader re­spon­si­ble for one-sixth of global hu­man­ity liv­ing in In­dia, and with In­dia’s an­cient phi­los­o­phy of ‘Va­sud­haiva Ku­tum­bakam’ (the world is one fam­ily!). Only two of his 32 min­utes speech was spent in re­spond­ing to Nawaz Sharif ’s lament on In­dia, par­tic­u­larly on Kashmir, made a day ear­lier. It was not just a snub or a re­buff. It was also a non-ac­ri­mo­nious ad­vice on the right ap­proach to re­solv­ing bi­lat­eral is­sues, with­out miss­ing out the hu­man­i­tar­ian as­pect. He made it clear that “Rais­ing Kashmir at UN will not re­solve bi­lat­eral is­sues…. A na­tion’s des­tiny is linked to its neigh­bour­hood. I am pre­pared to en­gage in a se­ri­ous bi­lat­eral di­a­logue with Pak­istan in a peace­ful at­mos­phere, with­out the shadow of ter­ror­ism. Pak­istan must also take its re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously to cre­ate an ap­pro­pri­ate en­vi­ron­ment.”

As ex­pected, the long­est part of his speech was on coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism. Hav­ing suf­fered ter­ror­ism since long, In­dia has been an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in all UN dis­cus­sions. It played an im­por­tant role in fram­ing of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 1373 (2001), 1456 (2003), as a mem­ber of the Counter Ter­ror­ism Im­ple­men­ta­tion Task Force and on the UN Global Counter Ter­ror­ism Strat­egy and Com­pre­hen­sive Anti-Ter­ror­ism Con­ven­tion there­after. In­dia had rec­om­mended giv­ing more teeth to the Counter Ter­ror­ism Com­mit­tee to en­force im­ple­men­ta­tion and to deal with non-com­pli­ance. Prime Min­is­ter Modi pointed out the faults in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of counter ter­ror­ism strat­egy. He de­mol­ished at­tempts by in­ter­ested par­ties in di­vid­ing ter­ror­ism into ‘good ter­ror­ism’ and ‘bad ter­ror­ism’, na­tions such as Pak­istan al­low­ing sanc­tu­ar­ies on their ter­ri­tory and us­ing ter­ror­ism as an in­stru­ment of state pol­icy, and non-ap­pre­ci­a­tion of ter­ror link­ages within and across re­gions. He ex­horted global co­op­er­a­tion, point­ing out that com­part­men­talised na­tional ap­proaches can­not deal with the seam­less web of in­ter­na­tional link­ages which ter­ror­ism has de­vel­oped.

His sec­ond ma­jor thrust was on ‘global part­ner­ship and co­op­er­a­tion’ in fac­ing chal­lenges. “One coun­try and or group of coun­tries can­not de­ter­mine the course of the planet”, he said. He mocked at uni­lat­er­al­ism, G-4, G-7, and G-21 as out­dated and in­ef­fec­tive group­ings. “In­sti­tu­tions that re­flect the im­per­a­tives of 20th cen­tury will not be ef­fec­tive in the 21st cen­tury”, he said, and as a global states­man, he pro­nounced that “G-All” was the right ap­proach.

With that he also wove the ur­gent re­quire­ment of the long-awaited UN re­forms ‘to make it (the UN) more dem- ocratic and par­tic­i­pa­tive’. He asked global pow­ers not to in­dulge in a zero-sum game pre­vent­ing gen­uine re­forms in the UN. He strength­ened de­mand for In­dia’s per­ma­nent mem­ber­ship in its decision-mak­ing body by laud­ing peace­keep­ing role of na­tions who have par­tic­i­pated and sac­ri­ficed sol­diers (In­dia till date has con­trib­uted nearly 2,00,000 sol­diers of which nearly 175 have made supreme sacrifice) and not just con­trib­uted dol­lars.

Modi’s speech was forth­right and for­ward look­ing, which also re­flected In­dia’s na­tional in­ter­ests. He did not shy away from the con­tentious is­sues in which In­dia is known to have dif­fer­ence of opin­ion with China and the United States. Hint­ing to­wards China, he said that “Even with­out any ma­jor wars, there is an ab­sence of real peace. An in­te­grat­ing Asi­aPa­cific re­gion is still con­cerned about mar­itime se­cu­rity that is fun­da­men­tal to its fu­ture.” De­spite dif­fer­ences on ‘Cli­mate Change’ with the US, he in­cluded this is­sue amongst the global chal­lenges. He re­minded the gath­er­ing of the Ky­oto Pro­to­col and said, “The world had agreed on a beau­ti­ful bal­ance of col­lec­tive ac­tion—common but dif­fer­en­ti­ated re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. That should form the ba­sis of con­tin­ued ac­tion. This also means that the de­vel­oped na­tions must ful­fill their com­mit­ments for fund­ing and tech­nol­ogy trans­fer. He also stated that cy­ber and space were new in­stru­ments of pros­per­ity, which could also turn into new the­atres of con­flict.

With his ad­dress in the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly on Septem­ber 28, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has been able to con­vey that he is a prag­matic vi­sion­ary; not only for In­dia and the South Asia re­gion but also at the global level. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will have to take greater no­tice of him here­after, and more im­por­tantly with that of In­dia.

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