India’s minister of external affairs urged the United Nations to reform and listen to more countries on Tuesday, while also warning nations that “political convenience” must not determine responses to terrorism or violence.
(Bloomberg) — India’s minister of external affairs urged the United Nations to reform and listen to more countries on Tuesday, while also warning nations that “political convenience” must not determine responses to terrorism or violence.
S. Jaishankar did not directly mention the discord between Canada and India, in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused the Indian government of backing the murder of a prominent Sikh activist in his country. India, in turn, has alleged Canada is harboring extremists pushing for an independent Sikh nation.
“Respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs cannot be exercises in cherry-picking,” Jaishankar told the UN General Assembly in New York.
“When reality departs from the rhetoric, we must have the courage to call it out. Without genuine solidarity, there can never be real trust. This is very much the sentiment of the Global South.”
While it’s not clear whether Jaishankar was referring to Canada in his remarks, the Indian government has repeatedly accused Canada of ignoring evidence of extremism among its large and politically powerful Sikh diaspora. Trudeau has said his government doesn’t condone violence but it must defend Canadians’ right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has sought to establish itself as a crucial link between the Global South and western nations. World leaders including US President Joe Biden have actively courted the country as an economic and geopolitical counterbalance to China.
In his address on Tuesday, Jaishankar urged the UN to listen to more diverse viewpoints. As the world grapples with turmoil, “diplomacy and dialogues are the only effective solution,” he said.
“As the United Nations itself symbolizes, finding common ground is an imperative,” he said. “The day when a few nations set the agenda and expect others to fall in line are over.”
Jaishankar repeated India’s longstanding call to join the UN Security Council, which includes US, the UK, Russia, France and China as permanent members and is responsible for maintaining global peace and security.
When the global body hosts the “Summit of the Future” next year, it should expand the Security Council, Jaishankar said.
–With assistance from Laura Dhillon Kane.
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