Sushma Swaraj is also expected to press for giving India permanent membership in the Security Council.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to speak on issues such as India-Pakistan relations, cross-border terrorism and the country’s long-pending demand for inclusion into the Security Council when she addresses the high-level United Nations General Assembly in New York a few hours from now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not attending this session of the global gathering. He had given his maiden address to the UN General Assembly as Prime Minister in 2014.
Ms Swaraj’s appearance on the global stage comes at a time when India-Pakistan bilateral ties have hit a particularly rocky stretch in the aftermath of the brutal murder of a Border Security Force jawan in the Jammu region about 10 days ago. India did not take the incident lightly, a sentiment that found reflection in Ms Swaraj’s apparent snub to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly yesterday.
Minutes earlier, she had delivered a scathing statement on terrorism with a finger that seemed firmly pointed at Pakistan. “The number of threats and incidents that endanger South Asia are on the rise. Terrorism remains the single-largest threat to peace and stability in our region, and indeed in the world. It is necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support,” Ms Swaraj said in her address to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
“I would like to stress that meetings, including high-level ones, can only be effective if expressions of resolve are translated into concrete action on the ground,” she added.
Incidentally, India and Pakistan seemed to be on the path to reconciliation just a few weeks ago, when the government accepted a request for a meeting of External Affairs Ministers on the sidelines of the UNGA. India cancelled the meeting the very next day, after three abducted policemen were killed by terrorists in Kashmir and the newly elected Pakistan government released postal stamps in the memory of Hizbul Mujahideen member Burhan Wani.
Ms Swaraj’s speech is also expected to address the issue of granting India permanent membership in the UN Security Council. While the Trump administration in the United States has reiterated its support for India’s bid for the same in a reformed security council, China remains unconvinced. Also, the developing country faces stiff competition for the seat from better-placed countries such as Germany, Japan and Brazil.
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