Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that The United Nations faced a “crisis of confidence without comprehensive reforms,” and added that the world required a reformed multilateralism that bespeaks the realities of today, gives voice to all stakeholders and engages with contemporary challenges.
PM Modi made these remarks on the eve of India taking a seat at the UN Security Council as an elected non-permanent member for a two-year term that starts on January 1, 2021. “We cannot fight today’s challenges with outdated structures. Without comprehensive reforms, the UN faces a crisis of confidence,” Modi said on Monday during his video address to the High-Level meeting of the General Assembly to begin the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
He pointed out that the declaration, too, took cognisance for the need of reform of the United Nations itself. Modi said, “While much has been achieved, the original mission remains incomplete. The declaration we are adopting today acknowledges that work still needs to be done in preventing conflict, ensuring development, addressing climate change, reducing inequality.”
In the Declaration, the Heads of State and Government had reaffirmed their commitment to leave no one behind, preserve the planet, promote peace and prevent conflicts, abide by international law and ensure justice, place women and girls at the center, build trust, improve digital cooperation, upgrade the United Nations, among other issues.
This year’s high-level UN General Assembly is being organised in a virtual mode as world leaders did not travel to New York for the annual meeting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Heads of State and Government and Ministers submitted their pre-recorded video statements for the high-level week, including the special commemoration of the UN’s 75 years and the General Debate. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti introduced Prime Minister Modi’s pre-recorded statement from the UN General Assembly Hall.
Notably, in the Declaration, the Heads of State and Government also observed that today’s world is very different from what it was when the United Nations was established 75 years ago.
“We support the ongoing reforms by the Secretary-General, we reiterate our call for reforms of three of the principal organs of the United Nations. We commit to instill new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council and continue the work to revitalise the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council,” PM Modi said.
He added that India has been leading decades-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying a structure established in 1945 does not fully show the contemporary realities of the 21st century and is not adequately-equipped to take on current challenges. PM Modi underscored on the fact that as a founding signatory of the UN charter, India shared values, which showed India’s own tenets of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, which views all creation as a family.
“Our world today is a better place because of the United Nations, the prime minister added.
He paid rich tribute to all those who have furthered the mission of peace and development under the UN flag, including in UN peacekeeping missions, where India had been a top contributor. India is among the largest troop contributors to UN Peacekeeping Missions, having offered over 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 peacekeeping missions mandated over the past six decades.
Four out of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have bilaterally expressed support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat at the global body. Currently, the UNSC is made up of five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member nations which are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly of the UN. The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries can veto any substantive resolution. There has been growing clamour to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality. India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Japan are strong contenders for permanent membership of the UNSC which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
(With PTI inputs)