Mr.President and distinguished delegates, Let me first congratulate you on your election as the President of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. It is truly a great honor to address you for the first time as India’s prime minister. I stand here, conscious of the hopes and expectations of the people of India. I am also mindful of the expectations of the world from 1.25 billion people. India is a country that constitutes one-sixth of humanity, a nation experiencing economic and social transformation on a scale rarely seen in history. Its civilization and philosophical tradition shape every nation’s world view. India’s ancient wisdom sees the world as one family. It is this timeless current of thought that gives India an unwavering belief in multilateralism. As I stand here, I am equally aware of the hopes pinned on this great assembly. I am struck by the sacred belief that brought us together. An extraordinary vision and a clear recognition of our shared destiny brought us together to build this institution for advancing peace and security, the rights of every human being, and economic development for all.
From 51 nations then, today 193 sovereign hope. We have achieved much in the past six decades in our mission to end wars, prevent conflict, maintain peace, feed the hungry, strive to save our planet, and create opportunities for children. 69 UN peacekeeping missions since 1948 have made the blue helmet the color of peace. Today, there is a surge of democracy across the world, including in South Asia; in Afghanistan, we are at a historic moment of democratic transition and affirmation of unity. Afghans are showing that their desire for a peaceful and democratic future will prevail over violence. Nepal has moved from violence to peace and democracy; Bhutan’s young democracy is flourishing. Democracy is trying to find a voice in West Asia and North Africa; Tunisia’s success makes us believe that it is possible. There is a new stirring for stability, progress, and progress in Africa. There is an unprecedented spread of prosperity in Asia and beyond, rising on the strength of peace and tranquility. Latin America, a continent of enormous potential, is coming together in a shared pursuit of stability and prosperity, making it an essential anchor of the world.
India desires a peaceful and stable environment for its development. A nation’s destiny is linked to its neighborhood. That is why my Government has placed the highest priority on advancing friendship and cooperation with her neighbors. This includes Pakistan. I am prepared to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in a peaceful atmosphere, without the shadow of terrorism, to promote our friendship and cooperation. However, Pakistan must also take its responsibility seriously to create an appropriate environment. Raising issues in this forum is not the way to resolve the problems between our two countries. Instead, today, we should be thinking about the victims of floods in Jammu and Kashmir. In India, we have organized massive flood relief operations and offered assistance for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India is part of the developing world, but we are prepared to share our modest resources with those countries that need this assistance as much as we do. This is a time of great flux and change. The world is witnessing tensions and turmoil on a scale rarely seen in recent history. There are no major wars, but tensions and conflicts abound; and, there is an absence of real peace and uncertainty about the future. An integrating Asia Pacific region is still concerned about maritime security that is fundamental to its future. Europe faces the risk of a new division. In West Asia, extremism and fault lines are growing. Our own region continues to face the destabilizing threat of terrorism. Africa faces the twin threat of rising terrorism and a health crisis. Terrorism is taking new shape and a new name. No country, big or small, in the north or the south, east or west, is free from its threat. Are we really making concerted international efforts to fight these forces, or are we still hobbled by our politics, territory, or terrorism as instruments of their policy? We welcome efforts to combat terrorism’s resurgence in West Asia, which is affecting countries near and far. The efforts should involve the support of al countries in the region. Today, even as seas, space, and cyberspace have become new instruments of prosperity, they could also become a new theatre of conflicts. Today, more than ever, the need for an international compact, which is the foundation of the United Nations, is stronger than before.
While we speak of an interdependent world, have we become more united as nations? Today, we still operate in various Gs with different numbers. India, too, is involved in several. But, how much are we able to work together as G1 or G-All? On the one side, we say that our destinies are inter-linked; on the other hand, we still think of zero-sum games. If the other benefits, I stand to lose. It is easy to be cynical and say nothing will change, but if we do that, we run the risk of neglecting our responsibilities, and we put our collective future in danger.
Let us bring ourselves in tune with the call of our times. First, let us work for genuine peace. No one country or group of countries can determine the course of this world. There has to be a genuine international partnership. This is not just a moral position but a practical reality. We need a genuine dialogue and engagement between countries. I say this from the conviction of the philosophical tradition that I come from. Our efforts must begin here – in the United Nations. We must reform the United Nations, including the Security Council, and make it more democratic and participative. Institutions that reflect the imperatives of the 20th century won’t be useful in the 21st. It would face the risk of irrelevance, and we will face the risk of continuing turbulence with no one capable of addressing it. We should put aside our differences and mount a concerted international effort to combat terrorism and extremism. As a symbol of this effort, I urge you to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
We should ensure that there will be peace, stability, and order in the outer space and cyberspace. We should work together to ensure that all countries observe international rules and norms. The riddle task of UN peacekeeping; we should involve troop-contributing countries in decision-making. Let us continue to redouble our efforts to pursue universal global disarmament and non-proliferation. Second, we must pursue a more stable and inclusive global development. Globalization has created new poles of growth, new industries, and a new source of employment. At the same time, billions live on the edge of poverty and want; countries that can barely survive a global economic storm. There has never been a time when it has seemed more possible than now to change this. Technology has made things possible; the cost of providing it has reduced. We are no longer totally dependent on bricks and mortars.
If you think of the speed with which Facebook or Twitter has spread worldwide, if you think of the speed with which cell phones have spread, you must also believe that development and empowerment can spread at the same rate. Each country must, of course, take its own national measures; each Government must fulfill its responsibility to support growth and development. At the same time, we also require a genuine international partnership. At one level, it means better coordination of policy so that our efforts become mutually supportive, not mutually damaging. It also means that we accommodate each other’s concerns and interests when we craft agreements on international trade. When we think of the scale of want in the world – 2.5 billion people without access to basic sanitation; 1.3 billion people without access to electricity; or 1.1 billion people without access to drinking water, we need a more comprehensive and concerted direct international action. In India, the most important aspects of my development agenda are precisely to focus on these issues. The eradication of poverty must remain at the core of the Development Agenda and command our fullest attention. Third, we must seek a more habitable and sustainable world. There are debates and animals, clean rivers and lakes, and blue skies. I want to say three things. One, we should be honest in shouldering our responsibilities in meeting the challenges. The world had agreed on a beautiful balance of collective action – common but differentiated responsibilities. That should form the basis of continued action. This also means that the developed countries must fulfill their commitments for funding and technology transfer. Second, national action is imperative. Technology has made many things possible. We need imagination and commitment. India is prepared to share its technology and capabilities, just as we have announced a free satellite for the SAARC countries. Third, we need to change our lifestyles. Energy not consumed is the cleanest energy.
We can achieve the same level of development, prosperity, and well being without necessarily going down the path of reckless consumption. It doesn’t mean that economies will suffer; it will mean that our economies will take on a different character. For us in India, respect for nature is an integral part of spiritualism. We treat nature s bounties as sacred. Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world, and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day. Finally, We are at a historic moment. Its character defines every age; each generation is remembered for how it rose together to meet its challenges. We have that responsibility to rise to our challenges now. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in this great assembly; we should ask ourselves whether we should wait until we are 80 or100. Let us fulfill our promise to reform the United Nations Security Council by 2015. Let us fulfill our pledge on a Development Agenda so that there are new hope and belief in us worldwide. Let us also make a pristine watershed for a sustainable world. Let it be the beginning of a new journey together.
Pandemic is at it is worst in India. At the time of writing this article, India…
BBC correspondent: You mentioned the " vaccine nationalism ", the party requires the entry of…