Guterres visiting India; to pay tributes to 26/11 victims; will visit Gujarat

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Antonio Guterrez Photo: Twitter @antonioguterrez

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is to visit India Tuesday to commemorate India’s 75-year partnership with the UN during which India’s contribution to fighting climate change by advocating lifestyle changes will be highlighted, his Spokesperson Stephane Dujarri announced on Monday.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in New Delhi that Guterres will start his visit by paying tributes at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai to the victims of the 26/11 terror attacks by a Pakistan-based group which claimed the lives of more than 175 people.

The ministry also said that in Gujarat, Guterres is expected to “pay floral tributes at the Statue of Unity”, which is the 182-metre depiction of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who oversaw the unification of India out of the British-administered territories and the princely states under British overlordship at the country’s independence.

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In Mumbai, the MEA said, Guterres will speak at the UN on “India @75: UN-India Partnership: Strengthening South-South Cooperation.”

This will be Guterres’s second visit to India as the secretary-general and the first in his second term.

Dujarric said that during his three-day visit Guterres is to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

The MEA said that Jaishankar is expected to discuss with Guterres matters of “global concern” and deepening New Delhi’s engagement with the UN when India takes over the presidency of the G20, the group of the world’s large economies.

Although India was a founding member of the UN in 1945 while still a British colony, it is commemorating its participation at the UN after its Independence in 1947.

Guterres will visit a model project site, which has recently been declared India’s first solar-powered village, and see “how solar rooftops installed on more than 1,300 rural houses are improving lives in the community”, the spokesperson said.

While in Modhera village in Gujarat, which is a model of solar power use, he will also visit the Sun Temple, an 11th century structure built by the Chalukyas in homage to the Sun god, the MEA said.

At the Ekta Nagar in Gujarat’s Kevadia, Gutteres is to join Modi to launch the Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), the MEA said. Gujarat is Modi’s home state.

Mission LiFE’s “central idea reflects India’s ethos of respect for Mother Nature and aims at piloting a focussed program that will mobilise 1 billion Indians to become pro-planet people (3P), who would practice simple environment and climate-friendly behaviour/actions in their daily lives to promote a shared commitment to protect our planet”, the MEA said calling it India’s “signature initiative” for fighting climate change..

Dujarric said that Guterres will go to Vietnam from India, to participate in that country’s celebration of 45 years of UN membership.

(This article first appeared in South Asia Monitor online October 18, 2022. Reproduced here by special arrangement with SAM)

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