India Is Ready to Lead World in Three Critical Areas: Modi Tells UN

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s three-day whirlwind visit to the US that began in Washington on September 23 and ended in New York on September 25 had once again proved his mettle as the world’s greatest statesman. In all his meetings he has effectively conveyed his concrete views to the world leaders.

Mr. Modi was confident, assertive, and action-oriented in matters of world as well as of Indian affairs. At every bilateral or multilateral meeting, whether it is with top business leaders, Quad member-country heads, collectively or individually, one-on-one with other world leaders, as well as with US President Biden, Narendra Modi spoke with great conviction. His forceful speech at the UN was the highlight. He has been emphatic and has made his points abundantly clear.

The only snag has been that the US, as the world leader, has not adequately realized its responsibility to express emphatically its displeasure at the consequences of Pakistan’s role in harboring terrorists, which has become a major worry of the whole world. The US, which has recently withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan, has seen and experienced in close quarters Pakistan’s role in supporting terrorism. The Taliban’s overrun of Afghanistan and capture of power there, has drawn renewed focus of UN member-countries on the role of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

In his 22-minute address to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 25, Mr. Modi has made it clear that democracy is the most acceptable form of governance, describing India as the “mother of democracy.” He has listed achievements of his government. He has vociferously attacked Pakistan without mincing words, and China with a high degree of assertiveness. He has denounced Pakistan for using terrorism as a “political tool,” and China for its hunger for territorial expansionism in fanatic intensity and trying to take control of the oceans. He has described oceans as “lifeline” for international trade and stressed the need for sparing them from expansionist and greedy overtures.

Describing oceans as “common and shared inheritance,” he has stressed that the ocean resources are best “used and not abused.” He adds: “The consensus at the UNSC under India’s presidency can help the world move ahead on the issue of maritime security.”

Mr. Modi has alerted the nations on the importance of desisting from use of Afghanistan, which has come under the rule of the Taliban, for the spread of terrorism or turn it into a base for perpetrating terrorist attacks. He has said: “It is important to ensure that Afghanistan territory is not used to spread terrorism or carry out terrorist attacks.” The Prime Minister has also criticized the World Bank for not doing enough in helping countries particularly during widespread COVID-19 pandemic. He has blamed China for manipulating the World Bank data to improve its ranking as well as jeopardizing the WHO’s attempt to trace the origin of the virus.

Mr. Modi has said that he wants to inform the UNGA that India has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine that can be delivered to anybody above the age of 12 years. And m-RNA vaccine is in final stages of development. Indian scientists are also working on a nasal vaccine. Stating that India is exporting vaccine to the needy countries, he has invited world vaccine manufacturers to make vaccine in India and export it to the needy countries. He has conveyed proudly a clear message to the world, through an example, that India is ready to lead the world in three most critical areas – fighting terrorism, conserving environment, and combating COVID-19 pandemic.

These sentiments of the Prime Minister Modi have been strongly supported by Sneha Dubey, India’s First Secretary at the UN. Giving a fitting reply to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sneha Dubey has made a forceful speech saying, “Pakistan holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UNSC. Osama bin Laden got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorifies him as ‘martyr’,” adding that Islamabad is an “arsonist” disguising itself as “firefighter.”

In a one-on-one brief bilateral meeting in the White House in Washington on September 24 Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden vowed to further strengthen ties between India and the US. They both discussed important issues including the challenges like the vexed Afghan imbroglio and the Taliban, COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Understandably both the countries asked the Taliban to ensure that the war-torn Afghanistan’s territory is never again used for terrorist activities.

In a joint statement, Primer Minister Modi and his US counterpart President Joe Biden have clearly and emphatically expressed their thoughts on combating terrorism in Afghanistan. The two leaders have resolved that the Taliban must abide by UNSC resolution, which demands that the Afghan territory must never again be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists or to plan or finance terrorist attacks.

Earlier, Mr. Modi has met US Vice President Kamala Harris when she has said that India and the US, being two leading democracies, are natural partners. The two leaders agreed that the bilateral relations are strong and on firm ground. They both have discussed several world and bilateral issues and hoped the relations between the two countries would be further strengthened.

Mr. Modi has also held one-on-one meetings with two of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) partners — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the Oval Office of the White House. These meetings were followed by the first-ever in-person meeting of all the four Quad leaders, who are the Heads of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. In all these significant meetings (on one-on-one and four-some) the four leaders, who have formed an “exclusive closed clique” have shared a common objective of “sobering” China. Mr. Modi has described Quad as a “force for global good.”

The four leaders have sought to broad-base the objectives of Quad, by adopting a positive agenda comprising norms, standards, economic partnership, and pandemic cooperation. In their joint statement, the Quad leaders committed to adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, “to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas.” They stressed the need for countering the terrorism, by warning countries, particularly Pakistan without naming it, and their attitude towards Afghanistan. They committed to “closely coordinate” and “deepen” their counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead.

Mr. Modi launched his US tour by holding a series of meetings with global CEOs of top companies with a view to seeking investment in India. They include Vivek Lall, CEO of the US energy and defense company, General Atomics Global Corporation, which manufactures armed drones. Vivek Lall and Narendra Modi discussed about strengthening the defense sector in India. The Prime Minister also met Chip maker Qualcomm CEO Cristiano, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, First Solar CEO Mark Widmar and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

In all the meetings and forums he addressed in Washington and New York, Mr. Modi carved for himself a unique niche as a dominant world leader.

– Contributed by Mr. J.V. Laskshmana Rao, a former National News Coordinator of Express News Service, New Delhi, and former Chief Editor of US-based India Tribune. He frequently travels between India and the US.

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