New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and highlighted the issues of terrorism, climate change, corruption and money laundering that is affecting their respective countries in particular and the world in general. While PM Modi did not mention Pakistan in his 17-minute speech, Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s address was full of reference to Kashmir and India.
After failing to internationalise the Kashmir issue, Imran Khan blamed the world community for overlooking the matter and said it is primarily because India is a booming market of 1.2 billion strong people.
“The world has not done anything (on the Kashmir issue) because India has a huge market (of) 1.2 billion people. Sadly, the material prevails over humans,” Khan said, adding, “But this has serious consequences, and I repeat that is why I am here.”
Pakistan has time and again been affronted by the international community, specifically the US, on several global platforms after it cried foul over India’s abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, with many countries supporting India on the matter.
Continuing his anti-India rhetoric, Khan said there would be ‘bloodbath’ in Kashmir once the curfew is lifted there and urged India to lift curfew as soon as possible.
“India must lift the curfew imposed in Kashmir for the last 53 days and release all the political detainees, especially 30,000 youth who have been picked by the occupying forces,” Khan said.
Issue of Terrorism
Without making any reference to Pakistan, PM Modi talked about terrorism and said it is not a challenge for any one country, but for all countries. “We believe that terrorism is not a challenge for any one country, but for all countries and of mankind as a whole. So for the sake of humanity, the world has to unite against terror,” PM Modi said.
While highlighting other issues such as development, security, counter-terrorism and climate change, PM Modi said the issue of terrorism had divided the world and that is the reason why the UN was created to handle this menace.
This year’s theme of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly is ‘galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion’.
PM Modi said India’s contribution towards United Nations Peace-keeping missions has been immense. “No other country in the world has sacrificed as much as India has for these peace-keeping missions,” he added.
Talking about developmental schemes for poor people, PM Modi said, “When a developing country, successfully runs the world’s biggest financial inclusion scheme, opening over 370 million bank accounts for the poor in just five years, the systems that result, build confidence in the poor across the entire world.”
Highlighting the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme of the Central government, PM Modi in his speech said, “When a developing country, successfully runs the world’s biggest health insurance scheme, giving 500 million people the facility of an annual health cover of Rs 500,000 for free treatment, the achievements and responsive systems that result from this scheme show the world a new path.”
No Single-use Plastic
Highlighting India’s contribution towards making the country plastic-free, PM Modi said his government in India is running a massive campaign to free the country of single-use plastic.
“While I was coming here, I read on the walls of the United Nations ‘No more single-use plastic’. I am delighted to inform you that we are running a big campaign in India to free the country of single-use plastic,” he said.
He also said, “When a developing nation successfully carries out the biggest cleanliness drive of the world and provides more than 11 crore toilets to its people just within 5 years, that system gives a message of inspiration to the entire world.”
While addressing the UNGA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about 17 minutes, well within the allotted time, but Pakistan PM Imran Khan exceeded the time limit and went on to speak for more than half-an-hour.