Implications of PM Modi's Speech in UNited Nations General Assembly (UNGA) - Current Affair Article for UPSC, IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations


Implications of PM Modi's Speech in UNited Nations General Assembly (UNGA) - Current Affair Article for UPSC, IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations


Why in News?

Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has addressed the 74th session of the UNited Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2019. The focus of his speech, delivered in Hindi, was on development in the country and climate change.

Introduction

In an address to the 74th session of the UNGA that combined elements of a campaign speech and a call to action, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has showcased his government’s developmental and environmental record, and set out its agenda. PM Modi spoke for around 17 minutes, well within the allotted time-limit of between 15 and 20 minutes, for a world leader to address the global body. In his 17 minute address, he did not mention the name of any country but firmly focused on terror, saying lack of unanimity on the issue dents those very principles that are the basis for the creation of UN.

Apart from terrrorism, he also spoke on a host of issues ranging from climate protection and global peace to his government's efforts at helping the marginalised. PM Modi also spoke about his government’s various welfare schemes that “gave the world a new hope” for a better tomorrow. He emphasised on the motto ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and said that his government’s endeavours are centred around 130 crore Indians. Further, PM Modi also refused to get into 'you versus me' debate on Kashmir. He was clear that there will be no compromise on Kashmir and that being a global forum like the UN. His speech was in contrast to Pakistan PM's address that focused entirely on the Kashmir dispute.

In his speech PM Modi stressed on India’s many global contributions that held lessons for other nations, rather than allowing himself to be limited by regional matters.

Key Highlights of the Speech

Terrorism

Noting that India is a country, that has given the world, not war, but Buddha, "Yuddh nahi, buddh" and Buddha’s message of peace. He also emphasised that the onus of combating terrorism should not fall on any single country alone but for the entire world and humanity. Further, he said our voice against terrorism to alert about this evil rings with seriousness and outrage. For the sake of humanity, it is absolutely imperative that the world unites as one against terrorism and stands as one against terrorism. The face of the world is changing, modern technology is bring about sweeping changes in different spheres of life. In such a situation, a fragmented world is in the interest of no one.

Global Peace and Harmony

PM Modi said the world is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, whose message of truth and non-violence is very relevant for us even today, for peace, development and progress in the world. In the last 5 years, India has worked towards strengthening its centuries old great tradition of fraternity among nations and welfare of the world, which is indeed, in line with the key objectives of the United Nations. The issues that India raises, the kind of new global platforms that India has come forward to build, seek collective efforts to address serious global challenges and issues.

Further, he invoked the quotes of Tamil philosopher Kaniyan Pungundranar and Swami Vivekananda to seek collective action to address various global challenges. About 3000 years ago, Kaniyan Pungundranara quoted "Yaadhum oorae, yaavarum kaeleer". This means, we belong to all places, and we belong to everyone. This sense of belonging beyond borders is unique to India.

Besides, PM Modi also referred to Swami Vivekananda’s historic address at the convention of Parliament of Religions in Chicago and asserted that India’s message to the global community remained the message of harmony and peace which the spiritual guru gave in 1893. Today, the message from the world’s largest democracy, for the international community is still the same: “Harmony and Peace”.

PM Modi's Speech in UNited Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

UN Peacekeeping Mission

India made more sacrifices than any country for UN peacekeeping missions. The Prime Minister also reminded the UNGA about the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers as part of UN peacekeeping missions. He said at least 160 Indian peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price while serving with the United Nations.

Climate Change

India one of leading nations in fight against climate change. Elucidating steps taken to fight climate change, PM Modi said India’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is very low and still is one of the leading nations to combat climate change. He said that “on one hand, we are working towards achieving the target of 450 Giga Watts of renewable energy, and on the other hand, we have also taken the initiative to create the International Solar Alliance. PM Modi also stressed on the increasing number and severity of natural disasters due to increasing global warming.

Further, to combat natural disasters, India has initiated the formation of the ‘Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure’ (CDRI) with countries like the UK, Australia, Fiji and the Maldivives. This coalition will help build infrastructure which can withstand natural disasters. In addition to that he also invited “all countries to join” the CDRI.

Further, in order to signifying its commitment to sustainability and climate action, India has gifted solar panels -- one each for the 193 UN member states - that are being installed on hte orof o fhte NU haedquarters.

Single-use Plastic and Cleanliness

PM Modi spoke about the scale of the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan' and said that when a developing nation successfully completes the world’s biggest cleanliness drive, builds more than 11 crore toilets in just 5 years for its citizens, all its achievements and outcomes are an inspirational message for the entire world. The campaign was launched by the Modi government on Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2, 2014. The components of the government’s flagship scheme include the construction of household toilets, community and public toilets and solid waste management.

PM Modi also told the gathering that India is running a big campaign in India to free the country of single-use plastic.

Digital Identification Programme

Referring to the AADHAR initiative, PM Modi said, "when a developing country, launches for its citizens, the world’s biggest digital identification program, giving them a biometric identity, thereby ensuring they can avail of their rights, and saves more than 20 billion dollars by checking corruption, the modern systems that result from it, give the world a new hope.”

Health

PM Modi said that when a nation successfully runs the world’s biggest health insurance scheme 'Ayushman Bharat', providing free medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh for over 50 crore people, then it shows a new path to the entire world. He also recounted India’s achievements in the health sector and said that the country is committed to eradicating Tuberculosis by 2025.

Financial Inclusion

PM Modi referred to the 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana' and said that in just five years, more than 37 crore people have got bank accounts opened. This builds trust in the poor people across the world and prime example o f financial ni clusion.

Multilateralism

Prime Minister urged the international community to give a new direction to multilateralism. He said as the world is going through a new era, the countries do not have the option to confine themselves within their boundaries. Modern technology in the 21st Century, is bringing about sweeping changes in social life, personal life, economy, security, connectivity and international relations. In such a situation, a fragmented world, is in the interest of no one. He also said that, India’s position has been that institutions like the UN need to be strengthened and also reformed because its current structure does not reflect the state of play in global politics.

Reformed multilateralism has been a theme Modi has been driving home at all international forums, most recently in hte G-20 meet ni Osaak ni uJne.

Infrastructure

PM Modi stressed that in the next 5 years, apart from promoting water conservation, India is going to ensure water supply to 150 million homes, build over 125,000 kilometers of new roads and build 20 million houses for the poor by the year 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence day.

Governance

PM stressed that India is a great culture that is thousands of years old, a culture that has its own vibrant traditions, and which has encompassed universal dreams. Our values and culture see divinity in every being and strive for the welfare of all. Therefore, the very core of our approach is public welfare through public participation and this public welfare is not just for India but for the entire world. And that is the reason we draw inspiration from our motto: Collective efforts, for growth of all, with everyone’s trust. And this too, is not confined within the borders of India.

Way Forward

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech at the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), detailing outlines to build an inclusive, assertive and accountable world, has not only made a global impact but has also enhanced India's stature on the world stage. Further, it implies that India is an example to the world and the world could seek motivation from the developing country.

General Studies Paper- II

  • Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

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