New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday questioned for how long will India, the world's largest democracy and home to 1.3 billion people, be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations, asserting that reform in the responses, processes and in the very character of the global body is the "need of the hour."
In his pre-recorded video statement to the landmark General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Modi said the stability in the United Nations and empowerment of the world body are essential for the welfare of the world.
The prime minister's strong push for UN reforms and the much-delayed expansion of the powerful Security Council came as India will begin its two-year term as an elected non-permanent member of the 15-member Council from January 1 next year.
"For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations? How long would a country have to wait particularly when the transformational changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?" Modi asked.
He said that while it is a fact that the faith and respect that the United Nations enjoys among the 1.3 billion people in India is "unparalleled", it is also true that the people of India have been waiting for a long time for the process for the reforms of the United Nations to get completed. "Today, people of India are concerned whether this reform-process will ever reach its logical conclusion," he said, adding that every Indian today, while seeing the contribution of India in the world organisation, aspires for India's expanded role in the United Nations. "Reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour," he emphasised. India has been spearheading decades-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying a structure set up in 1945 does not reflect contemporary realities of the 21st Century and is ill-equipped to handle current challenges. There is widespread support, including by four out of the five permanent members of the Security Council - US, UK, France and Russia -- for a permanent seat for India at the Council. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also raised questions on the response of the United Nations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured the global community that India will use its production and delivery capacity to help all humanity in fighting the deadly disease. "Over the last 8 to 9 months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the coronavirus. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?" Modi said as he asserted that reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour. Prime Minister Modi said that even during these very difficult times of the raging pandemic, India's pharmaceutical industry has sent essential medicines to over 150 countries.
"As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis," Modi said in a strong assurance to the international community that is battling the devastating coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has so far infected over 32 million people and more than 993,500 people have died across the world. In India, the deadly virus has infected nearly 6 million people and killed more than 93,000.
The prime minister's remarks questioning the UN's effectiveness in combating the pandemic came amidst the strident criticism of the role played by the World Health Organisation by United States President Donald Trump, who this week alleged that the top world health body was virtually controlled by China.
Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year and accused Beijing of suppressing the details of the deadly contagion. Modi told the 193-member UN General Assembly that in India and the neighbourhood, "we are moving ahead with phase 3 clinical trials in India". He further assured that India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the vaccines.—PTI