It was most refreshing, most rejuvenating, most remarkable and most rewarding to see how elegantly, effectively, eloquently and effortlessly our PM Narendra Modi spoke while articulating an inclusive vision for the world and India’s role in manifesting it. PM Modi very rightly asked the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA): How long India would be kept out of the top UN decision making bodies? Very rightly so!
To be sure, India very rightly and very richly deserved to be in the UN high table among the permanent members of the Security Council. But countries inimical to India always stoutly opposed this and it is an unpalatable truth that China, US and UK were among those countries even though now relations have improved significantly with US and UK and much water has flown under the bridge!
It is US and UK who have dominated UN right from its inception and who oversaw the horrible partition of India and also have ensured successfully till now that all those terror groups who are operating against India from Pakistan are not touched ever and Pakistan is protected from being blacklisted. US and UK ensured that Osama Bin Laden was killed right inside Pakistan as he was a direct threat to them but have simultaneously ensured that Hafiz Saeed who heads Lashkar-e-Toiba, masterminded Mumbai attack of 26/11 and many other attacks as also Syed Salaluddin who heads Hizbul Mujahideen and many other groups directed against India are never touched or harmed in any manner! On one hand, we earlier heard former US President George Bush advocating that there are no good terrorists or bad terrorists but the ground reality is they have always treated terror groups directed against India with kid gloves and ensuring that they are never touched. Pakistan PM Imran Khan had himself admitted earlier that more than 40,000 terrorists are active in Pakistan but still UN preferred to look the other way around! Even now Pakistan withdrew cases against 4000 terrorists but yet again UN simply did nothing at all! Shocking!
Not just this, human rights organizations based in both these countries – US and UK always mostly criticize India alone on ground of lack of tolerance for minorities or on one pretext or the other but very conveniently overlook that the population of minorities in India has grown since independence which is more than that of Pakistan whereas in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the population of Hindus and other minorities have gone down considerably! How can India overlook all this? How can UN overlook this but it has been overlooking which has only served to dent its credibility in the international forum!
Coming to the present 75th summit in UN General Assembly, PM Modi assured the world of the adequate supply of vaccines and highlighted India’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions and its non-exclusive foreign policy, making the case for India playing a leading role in the world body. India is the biggest democratic country in the world but see how India has been treated by UN! UN has overlooked that it is India which has contributed maximum soldiers for peacekeeping operations still UN has always mocked at India at the behest of big powers like US, UK and China which alone explains that why it has always ignored Pakistan’s open support to cross border terrorism directed entirely against India thus making a complete mockery of UN!
PM Modi vociferously while espousing the cause for India playing a bigger role in UN did not shy away from pointing out that, “When we were strong, we were never a threat to the world; when we were weak, we never become a burden on the world. Indian troops have participated in about 50 UN peacekeeping missions…Today every Indian, while seeing the contribution of India in the United Nations aspires for India’s expanded role in the UN.” He said that the idea of Vasudhaiva kutumbakam [the world as one family] was in resonance with the UN’s founding ideals and said Indian troops had participated in about 50 UN peacekeeping missions.
UN has always worked on the agenda of US, UK and China. This alone explains why till now India has not been made a permanent member of the UN Security Council! It is high time and UN must now mend its ways or else face the hanging sword of being rendered irrelevant!
No doubt, relations with US have improved significantly especially under US President Donald Trump but US still views India with suspicion just like UK and China. France and Russia are India’s traditional allies on whom we can bank always! They have never been known to work against India at any point of time.
PM Modi whose penchant for Hindi is known world over did not shy away to speak in Hindi and delivered the first speech at the UNGA debate. He said that the problems and solutions of the world in 1945 were quite different from today. He said that, “Today, we are in a completely different era.” He also asked if the character of an institution from those times is even more relevant today.
PM Modi also highlighted his government’s domestic initiatives such as promoting women entrepreneurs, paid maternity leave, ensuring rights of transgender people, connecting 400 million people to the banking system, freeing 600 million people from open defecation, and providing access to free health care services to more than 500 million people.
PM Modi also very rightly wondered aloud that the UN enjoyed “unparalleled” respect in India but Indians were concerned whether the reform process would “ever reach its logical conclusion.” He said with consummate ease that, “Reform in the responses, in the processes, in the character of the UN is the need of the hour…Today, people of India are concerned whether the reform process will ever reach its logical conclusion. How long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the UN?” This is primarily because of the rigid stand of “Big Five” especially US, UK and China of not allowing any change in UN that has made it redundant totally out of context with the present ground day reality!
It is high time and the “Big Five” excluding China must now wake up to see for themselves that India’s track record is impeccable as compared to countries like China whom US now openly accused of spreading the deadly pandemic Corona due to which more than 2 lakh Americans have lost their lives! It cannot be denied that as of now India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded and reformed Security Council has been backed by all the current permanent members of the Security Council barring China. Should China be allowed to hold the UN to ransom?
Needless to say, UN must certainly honestly introspect on this! It is high time and now China must be thrown out and India must be brought in! It brooks no more delay anymore!
PM Modi also rightly took swipe at China by pointing out that we don’t make partners dependent. He thus took potshots at Beijing’s debt-trap diplomacy. He said that, “India has always thought about the interests of the whole humankind and not about its own vested interests. This philosophy has always been the driving force of India’s policies. From India’s Neighbourhood First Policy to our Act East Policy, as well as the idea of Security and Growth for All in the Region, or our views towards the Indo-Pacific region, we have always worked for the interests of humankind, and not driven by our own self-interests. India’s partnerships are always guided by this very principle.” He also made it known that, “When India strengthens its development partnership, it is not with any mala fide intent of making the partner country dependent or hapless.” PM Modi had presumably made an oblique reference to China’s model of infrastructure financing in the Indo-Pacific which has led to several countries falling into debt-traps with Beijing.
It would be pertinent to mention here that India would take the non-permanent member seat at the United Nations Security Council from January 2021 for a period of two years. The PM assured that, “India will always speak in support of peace, security and prosperity.” While sharing his piece of mind, PM Modi said that, “India will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, human race and human values – these include terrorism, smuggling or illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering.” He underlined New Delhi’s commitment to the fight against terrorism but placed it in a broader context.
It is most shameful to see that UN has always stood committed to protect the “terror factories” operating from Pakistan! UN has never pressurized Pakistan to close its terror factories and hand over all the terror leaders to UN to be tried for all the terror crimes! On the contrary, UN has never dared to speak when former Pakistani Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf had the guts, gumption and gall to publicly hail terrorists as “freedom fighters” and “heroes”. He once famously said that, “Hafiz Sayeed to hero hain ji hero bilkul aasli hero. Osama who be sacha hero hain. Bharat ke liye yeh aatankwadi hain paar hamare liye yet to hero hain ji hero bilkul aasli hero.” Could all this have happened without the blessings of UN, US, UK, china among others?
PM Modi did not say anything directly but indirectly he conveyed everything! He made known India’s position on a variety of issues. He also cited the Covid-19 pandemic crisis to make the point that reforms at the UN are urgently needed. He did not shy away from being upfront and asking in simple and straight language that, “Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?…Your Excellency, reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour. Over the last 8 to 9 months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the Coronavirus.” He reiterated India’s commitment, willingness and capacity to share responsibility on the world stage at a time such as this.
Going ahead, PM Modi also said that, “We have never hesitated from sharing experiences of our development. Even during these very difficult times of the raging pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry of India has sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries.”
Furthermore, PM Modi also made it a point to mention that, “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. In India and in our neighbourhood, we are moving ahead with phase-3 clinical trials in India. India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the vaccines.”
It is high time and this shameless UN must at least now have some pity, wake up from its deep slumber and stop giving Pakistan shamelessly the long rope as most unfortunately it has been doing till now to freely spread terror not just in India but in other countries as well as in Afghanistan! It is high time and this shameless UN must wake up and accord the permanent seat to India which many say that the then Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru had foolishly gifted to China! It is high time and the historical blunder must be corrected now!
It goes without saying that UN will certainly get more legitimacy if it accords India the due place which it so richly deserves also but which it has been most unfortunately denied in the last more than seven decades! Now the ball is clearly in the court of the UN! It has to decide what role it wants the largest democratic country in the world i.e. India to play in the world forum! It is UN which will gain maximum if it listens to what Indian PM Narendra Modi said on this count!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh