(This was originally posted in Times Of India by Sachin Parashar)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expectedly had a message in his UN General Assembly address for Pakistan, as he slammed use of terrorism as a political tool, but equally significantly for China as he said the “reliability’’ of global institutions of governance, built over decades, had been hit by their handling of issues like Covid-19 origin and ‘ease of doing business’ rankings. China has been accused of manipulating World Bank data to improve its rankings and WHO’s attempt to trace the origin of the novel coronavirus remains inconclusive.
Another important element of his address was his focus at the outset on India’s democratic traditions, describing India as “mother of democracy’’, a day after President Joe Biden emphasised on democratic values, tolerance and diversity as characteristics of India-US bilateral ties. Modi said India’s strong democracy is known for its diversity.“Yes, democracy can deliver. Yes, democracy has delivered,’’ said Modi, adding that it was the strength of Indian democracy, which allowed a kid who used to sell tea to address the UNGA for the 4th time as India’s PM.
The strongest message though was for Pakistan as he said that countries with regressive thinking, which were using terrorism as a political tool, needed to understand that terrorism can be as dangerous for them. “It is important to ensure that Afghanistan territory is not used to spread terrorism and carry out terrorist attacks,’’ said Modi, drawing applause from those present.Modi added that it was important to remain alert against the exploitation of the delicate situation in Afghanistan by any country for its own interest. “At this point of time, the people of Afghanistan – women, children and minorities – need help and we have to fulfil our responsibilities,’’ said the PM. He didn’t say anything though on the nature of the Taliban government unlike at the recent SCO summit where he had said the government wasn’t inclusive.
In another swipe at China, Modi said oceans were common and shared inheritance and it was important that ocean resources were used, and not abused. “Our oceans are the lifeline of international trade. We have to protect them from the race of expansion and exclusion,’’ said Modi.“The international community must speak in one voice to strengthen rules-based order. The consensus at the UNSC under India’s presidency can help the world move ahead on the issue of maritime security,’’ he added.
In his address, Modi said he wanted to inform the UNGA that India had developed world’s first DNA vaccine that can be delivered to anybody above the age of 12. “One more m-RNA vaccine is in final stages of development. Our scientists are also working on a nasal vaccine and we have restarted export of vaccines to the needy. Today, I want to invite all vaccine manufacturers of the world. “Come, make vaccine in India,’’ he said.
Modi said the world is faced with a threat from regressive thinking and extremism and it is important to develop science-based, rational and progressive thinking in these circumstances.