Sushma Swaraj’s address to the UN General Assembly: All you need to know

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday gave her address at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York. Her speech covered India’s main agenda for the UNGA and included terrorism, UN reforms and issues related to global security.

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Here is all you need to know from Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the UN General Assembly:

Pakistan and Terrorism

On the matter of terrorism, Swaraj took on Pakistan, saying that it is infamous for being the “pre-eminent export factory for terror.” The External Affairs Minister stated that Pakistan had become a champion of hypocrisy as it preached about humanity from the podium while being the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity, referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s speech on Thursday. The Pakistani PM had accused India of violating human rights and state-sponsored terrorism.

Swaraj continued by comparing the developmental progress of the two nations. She highlighted that India had produced scientists, scholars, doctors, and engineers while Pakistan has produced terrorists and terrorist camps as well as created Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen and Haqqani network. She further added that if Pakistan had invested in its development as much as it has invested in developing terror, the world and Pakistan would be safer and better-off today.

Reforms in the UN

In address to the General Assembly, Sushma Swaraj called for an early start to negotiations for UN Security Council reforms, expressing hope that reforms would be a top priority for the international organization. Along with reforms of the Security Council, Swaraj also called for improvements in UN peacekeeping, stating that the if the newly elected UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “wants to reform the peace and security architecture, he will also need to address reforms related to peacekeeping that have been urged for long.”

Foreign ministers of India, Germany, Brazil and Japan had earlier in the week met on the sidelines of the General Assembly to push for reforms in the Security Council. India has also received support from  other multilateral groupings such as BRICS and IBSA.

Global Security Issues

The External Affairs Minister also highlighted pertinent global issues and said that “terrorism, and the ideas that engineer this evil, are spreading at the pace of a conflagration. Climate change stares us in the face, and threatens us with its dimensions. There is a growing question mark over maritime security.” Cyber security and gender empowerment also found mention in the minister’s address.

She also highlighted that nuclear proliferation has re-entered the zone of dangerous headlines, referring to the continued aggressive behaviour of North Korea and the consecutive missile tests its has been conducting in direct violation of the UN Security Council resolution. Additionally, Swaraj called for UN members to define terrorism through the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism stating that “If we cannot agree to define our enemy, how can we fight together?”


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