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UN must make reforms to stay relevant in modern world: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

Addressing the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday called on the United Nations to make reforms to stay relevant in the modern world and said that the issue cannot remain “indefinite” and “unchallenged”.

EAM took a jibe at some nations and said, “In our deliberations, we often advocate promotion of a rules-based order. From time to time, respect for the UN Charter is also involved. But for all the talk, it is still a few nations which shape the agenda and seek to define the norms. This can’t go on indefinitely nor will it go unchallenged. A fair, equitable and democratic order will surely emerge once we all put our minds to it. And for a start, that means ensuring that rule-makers do not subjugate rule-takers.”

Hailing the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member in the G20 grouping under India’s G20 presidency, Jaishankar emphasised that the adoption of reform would make the Security Council relevant to the modern world.

“It was also noteworthy that at India’s initiative, the African Union was a permanent member of the G20. By doing so, we gave voice to an entire continent which has long been its due. This significant step in reform should inspire the United Nations, a much older organisation, to also make the Security Council contemporary. Broad representation is after all, a pre-requisite for both effectiveness and credibility,” said Jaishankar.

Notably, reforms in the global systems have been an issue continuously raised by India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the global stage.

During his concluding address at the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi, PM Modi reiterated his stance of making global systems in accordance with the “realities of the present” and took the example of the United Nations Security Council.

“When the UN was established, the world at that time was completely different from today. At that time there were 51 founding members in the UN. Today the number of countries included in the UN is around 200. Despite this, the permanent members in UNSC are still the same,” he said.

In his address, EAM stressed the impact of giving a platform to 125 nations in the G20 agenda and highlighted that the issues that deserve global attention were addressed in the summit.

Jaishankar pointed out, “Recognising that growth and development must focus on the most vulnerable, we began presidency by convening the Voice of the Global South Summit. This enabled us to hear directly from 125 nations and place their concerns on the G20 Agenda. As a consequence, issues which deserve global attention got a fair hearing.”

Mentioning the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Indian parliament, Jaishankar said that the world’s ancient traditions for democracy have adopted modern scenarios.

“Our latest assertion is in path-breaking legislation to reserve one-third of the seats for women in legislatures. I speak for a society where ancient traditions of democracy have struck deep modern roots. As a result, our thinking, approaches and actions are more grounded and authentic,” Jaishankar added.