New Delhi, September 26
India on Tuesday asked UN member states not to allow “political convenience” to determine responses to terrorism, extremism and violence.
In what appears to be a veiled attack on Canada and China, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at the 78th UN General Assembly session in New York that respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs couldn’t be “exercises in cherry picking”, and asserted that the days when a few nations set the agenda and expected others to fall in line were over.
Let respect be mutual
Respect for territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs can’t be exercises in cherry picking. Days when few nations set the agenda are over.
— S Jaishankar, EAM
“We must never again allow an injustice like vaccine apartheid to recur. Climate action too cannot continue to witness an evasion of historical responsibilities. The power of markets should not be utilised to steer food and energy from the needy to the wealthy…. Nor must we countenance that political convenience determines responses to terrorism, extremism and violence. Similarly, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs cannot be exercises in cherry picking,” asserted the minister.
Seeks urgent UN reforms
Seeking reforms in the UN, S Jaishankar said a few nations couldn’t shape global agenda and seek to define the norms. “This cannot go on indefinitely. Nor will it continue to go unchallenged,” he said.
His observations were interpreted as a broadside against Canada after its PM Justin Trudeau alleged in the Canadian Lower House that there was “potential” involvement of Indian agents in the killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on June 18 in Surrey, British Columbia. India has strongly rejected the charges as “absurd” and “motivated” that were made with “politically motivated” desire with a “degree of prejudice”. The second theme that Jaishankar stressed upon was the reform of the UN and its organs. He cited the example of India taking the initiative on the admission of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20. “We gave voice to an entire continent that has long been denied its due,” he said, adding this step ought to inspire the UN to make the Security Council contemporary.
“As the UN itself symbolises, finding common ground is imperative. To listen to others and to respect their viewpoints is not a weakness, but the basics of cooperation. Only then can collective efforts on global issues be successful,” he said. “But for all the talk, it is still a few nations that shape the agenda and seek to define the norms. This cannot go on indefinitely. Nor will it continue to go unchallenged,” he said. Jaishankar began his address with “Namaste from Bharat”. Bharat found a mention in his concluding sentence as well. “As a civilisational polity that embraces modernity, we bring both tradition and technology equally confidently to the table. It is this fusion that today defines India, that is Bharat,” he said at the end of his speech.
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