India emphasizes demands of Global South and India’s achievements at UN General Assembly

India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar addressing the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 2023, at the United Nations in New York. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

United Nations: Addressing the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on September 26, 2023, in New York, on its theme “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity,” India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar noted the world is currently experiencing a significant period of upheaval while emphasizing the structural inequities and uneven development have imposed significant burdens on the Global South.

“Stresses have been aggravated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the repercussions of ongoing conflicts, tensions, and disputes. As a result, socio-economic gains of recent years have been rolled back,” Jaishankar said while talking about the devasting effects of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. “When reality departs from rhetoric, we must have the courage to call it out. Without genuine solidarity, there can never be real trust. This is very much the sentiment of the Global South.”

Underscoring the success of the recently concluded New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit under India’s Presidency and its initiative to include the African Union as a permanent member of the G20, Jaishankar reiterated “By doing so, we gave voice to an entire continent which has long been its due” adding “This significant step in reform should inspire the United Nations, a much older organization, to also make the Security Council contemporary. Broad representation is after all, a pre-requisite for both effectiveness and credibility.”

He said the Summit of the Future hosted by the United Nations next year “Should serve as a serious opportunity to drive change, champion fairness, and reform multilateralism, including expansion of the Security Council memberships…”

“We often advocate the promotion of a rules-based order. From time to time, respect for the UN Charter is also invoked. But for all the talk, it is still a few nations who shape the agenda and seek to define the norms. This cannot go on indefinitely. Nor will it go unchallenged,” Jaishankar added. “A fair, equitable and democratic order will surely emerge, once we all put our minds to it. And for a start, that means ensuring that rule makers do not subjugate rule takers. After all, rules will work only when they apply equally to all.”

Pointing out that there’s so much “India has to share” he reminded the global platform that “It was with a sense of exceptional responsibility that India took up the Presidency of the G20. Our vision of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ sought to focus on the key concerns of the many, not just the narrow interests of a few.”

In that context, he recalled the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “It was to bridge divides, dismantle barriers, and sow seeds of collaboration that nourish a world, where unity prevails over discord and where shared destiny eclipses isolation.”

According to Jaishankar, the United Nations embodies the importance of seeking common ground, listening to others, and respecting differing viewpoints as essential aspects of cooperation. These actions are not signs of weakness but fundamental principles of global collaboration and addressing international issues.

Noting that New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Declaration clearly states the importance of the collective ability “At a time when East-West polarization is so sharp and North-South divide so deep,” he said the Summit underscored the importance of diplomacy and dialogue as the sole efficacious remedies. In today’s diverse international landscape, the world must accommodate divergent perspectives, if not outright differences. The era where a select few nations dictated the agenda an expected compliance from others has concluded.

He further added outcomes of the G20 Summit will have lasting impacts including an action plan for Sustainable Development Goals. Equally vital are principles for eco-friendly living, green development, transformative power of digital public infrastructure, and reforms of international financial institutions.

 Stressing that “India also seeks to promote cooperation with diverse partners from the era of non-alignment” Jaishankar added “We have now evolved to that of Vishwa Mitra (a friend to the world). This is reflected in our ability and willingness to engage with a broad range of nations. And, where necessary, harmonize interests.”

As such, he highlighted the progress made in the Quad, BRICS, I2U2, and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.

“All nations pursue their national interests. We, in India, have never seen that as being in contradiction with global good. When we aspire to be a leading power, this is not for self-aggrandizement but to take on greater responsibility and make more contributions. The goals we have set for ourselves will make us different from all those whose rise preceded ours,” he said while noting India’s endeavors including the Vaccine Maitri initiative, the International Solar Alliance, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and the International Year of Millets that received wide support.

Jaishankar highlighted India’s “development partnerships” with 78 nations, “and we have also been first responders in disaster emergency situations,” the Minister said. “The people of Turkey saw that in February, as did those in Syria,” as did Sri Lanka during its economic crisis and partners in Pacific Islands with technology and climate action.

 About India’s recent achievements on Chandrayaan-3 and Women’s Reservation Bill, he said The world saw a glimpse of what is to come when our Chandrayaan-3 landed on the moon,” adding “Our latest assertion is in a pathbreaking legislation to reserve one-third of the seats for women in our legislatures.”

To a question on UNSC reforms from News India Times at a press briefing September 25, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General, said “I would refer you to the things that Secretary-General has been saying extremely publicly, notably when he was in New Delhi speaking to your colleagues in support of serious Security Council reforms,” adding “We have a Council that is a reflective of the world of 2023, and not 1945. And I think he’s been very clear for a long time and very forceful on that.”



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