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'India is taking exceptional measures in exceptional times' - Indian foreign minister address to the UN

Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) at its 77th Session, Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar urged the international community must rise above narrow national agendas and slammed the current UN framework as "anachronistic and ineffective".

"The call for reformed multilateralism – with reforms of the Security Council at its core – enjoys considerable support among UN members [...] It does so because of the widespread recognition that the current architecture is anachronistic and ineffective. It is also perceived as deeply unfair, denying entire continents and regions a voice in a forum that deliberates their future".

His statement follows a growing push by the United States for India, Germany and Japan to become permanent members of the UN Security Council. Russian officials have noted that they will support India and Brazil's push to become permanent members of the UNSC. The Indian diplomat maintained that "India is prepared to take up greater responsibilities".

Commenting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Jaishankar did not denounce Russia as many Western countries have urged India to do. However, the India diplomat did state:

As the Ukraine conflict continues to rage, we are often asked whose side are we on.

And our answer, each time, is straight and honest.

India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there.

We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles.

We are on the side that calls for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out.

We are on the side of those struggling to make ends meet, even as they stare at the escalating costs of food, of fuel and fertilizers.

It is therefore in our collective interest to work constructively, both within the United Nations and outside, in finding an early resolution to this conflict.

His statement follows a damning speech address delivered by US President Joe Biden, in which he accused Russia of having “shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter”.

While the global attention has been on Ukraine, Jaishankar notes that India has also had to contend with other challenges, especially in its own neighbourhood.

"Some of them may be aggravated by the Covid pandemic and ongoing conflicts; but they speak too of a deeper malaise. The accumulation of debt in fragile economies is of particular concern. We believe that in such times, the international community must rise above narrow national agendas. India, for its part, is taking exceptional measures in exceptional times.

We do so, when we sent 50,000 metric tons of wheat and multiple tranches of medicines and vaccines to Afghanistan. When we extend credits of 3.8 billion dollars to Sri Lanka for fuel, essential commodities and trade settlement. When we supplied 10,000 metric tons of food aid and vaccine shipments to Myanmar. When we fill the gap in humanitarian needs left unaddressed by political complexity.

Whether it is disaster response or humanitarian assistance, India has stood strong, contributing particularly to those nearest to us".

Read more from the Indian External Ministry's statement here.

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