India’s Permanent Representative to UN calls Ram Mandir consecration a “great moment” for India

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, addressing the gathering on January 18, 2024, at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

New York: “This is a very special moment for us. It is something with which we all identify. There is a strong sense of cultural identity, a matter of deep honor and pride. Let us be happy,” asserted Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj referring to the Ram Temple consecration on January 22, 2024, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a special gathering of Indians at the United Nations, on January 18, 2024, held at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, Kamboj noted, “I think it is a great moment for India and Indians, the mood is positive,” adding that the world was expected to be watching the consecration especially the people of Mauritius, where there is about 70 per cent of Indian origin population.

Commenting about the inauguration, she expressed, “This is a double Diwali this year… Diwali now, and then of course, there is regular Diwali.”

Underscoring that India’s UN mission will “reflect and mirror” developments in New Delhi, she recalled the international conference on Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam that India hosted on October 10, 2023, at the United Nations. She said the conference fostered the view that “The World is One Family” and “That is the Indian worldview.”

At the United Nations, Kamboj affirmed, “India’s voice matters,” adding during the Ukraine crisis “after initial – what should I say resistance – most countries speak India’s language, dialogue and diplomacy.” Elaborating on the Gaza issue, she added, “Look at our stand on Gaza also. We evolved as the conflict evolved, and we have been very clear and consistent; terrorism and violence – No. Dialogue, diplomacy, and peace – Yes.”

“There is a very favorable impression of India in the UN Secretariat,” she said adding that top UN officials during times of crises, “do turn to India, and we have of course, never disappointed.”

She noted that, “India as a first responder” provided humanitarian assistance to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and that India’s leadership has been in touch with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Reflecting on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars, Kamboj pointed out to the “inability of the United Nations” adding that the Security Council’s role in maintaining peace is “being questioned.”

Acknowledging that she has noticed a growing number of individuals, especially younger generation, express the sentiment that the UN is “useless” Kamboj however reiterated India’s committed to multilateralism. “The United Nations Security Council may have failed to keep the peace but what about the other organs of the United Nations?” she questioned while adding “The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the subsidiary bodies, the various humanitarian agencies doing excellent work on the ground, not to mention peacekeeping.”

“The UN is not the best. It is not perfect. It could be better. But as we always say that until we find something better, this is the best system that we have that can convene all countries, all 194 countries,” she added. “And countries come together, discuss, meet, negotiate, and oftentimes there are outcome documents, even in these very difficult times.”

She said this year’s focus at the United Nations revolves around the Summit of the Future, which will feature an outcome document known as the Pact of the Future. This document encapsulates the UN Secretary-General’s vision of a UN 2.0 structured into five chapters and two crucial annexes, one dedicated to youth, and the other centered on the global digital compact.

While touching upon the impending general elections in India, Kamboj maintained, “We have a tradition of collective decision making. India is one of the oldest democracies in the world, and we do our democratic experiment every five years very smoothly, very seamlessly…”

She also highlighted India’s many success stories at the United Nations such as the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), yoga, millets, and artificial intelligence, and said, “I myself had the honor to speak at a very high-level forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI). And our prime minister has been very clear. While we may have missed the industrial revolution, we will not miss industry 4.0.”

“We believe that AI should be harnessed responsibly, AI should be for social empowerment, it should bridge the digital divide, and it should be for all,” Kamboj added.

Recalling a recent United Nations Development Programme’s report on Asia Pacific that commended India’s “immense work and the immense success” on DPI, Kamboj emphasized not only on DPI, but India is also focused on other important areas such as development led by women, improvement in health sector, and halving multi-dimensional poverty.

On a personal note, she said “It has been a matter of deep pride for me to represent India, to be the voice of India at the United Nations, a country like no other, with a tremendous past, but a great and promising present and future” while commending the work of Indians at the United Nations.

A few UN staffers and their spouses also shared their experiences about their work at the United Nations, commended India’s success stories, and praised the leadership role of Kamboj.



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