By Vasudha Kapoor:
Yet again, destiny has played its hand. A decade ago, the man (Mr. Narendra Modi) denied a visa to visit the US in light of the 2002 Godhra riots, is now set to address the world with his first global speech to an audience of 200 world leaders and foreign ministers in the United Nations General Assembly on 27th September, 2014.
This upcoming event has fuelled several debates, some of them focusing on the way the Indian leader might be perceived on a global stage as he attempts to promote ‘Indian-ness’ by speaking in Hindi. However, despite all the various debates, the issues that deserves the spotlight areÂ the key points that Mr. Modi should strive to emphasize on in order to present India as a country equipped with strong and modern perspectives on contemporary issues such as achieving world peace, tackling issues of climate change, fostering mutually beneficial ties of international trade, food security, conservation of human rights, health and education, and safeguarding the interests of developing countries in an increasingly globalized world. This article is an attempt to look at 7 core issues that the Indian Prime Minister must focus on in his UN address.
1. Combating terrorism and promoting world peace
Colouring middle-east Asia with blood, and with the death toll rising to over a thousand innocent lives, the Israel-Palestine conflict has taken its ugliest form, shaking the very foundations of world peace. Shifting one’s eye eastwards from Gaza, a look at war trodden Iraq complicates the situation further. The Iraqi common man has been sandwiched in between the violence perpetrated by Islamic state militants and the invasions by U.S. troops.
Clearly, there is no military solution to conflicts of this sort. So, the Prime Minister should clearly specify India’s support to intensify the efforts leading to an amicable democratic settlement in the affected regions.Â A discussion on ‘terrorism’ wouldn’t be complete without explicitly stating India’s concern of state sponsored cross-border terrorism originating from Pakistan. The Prime Minister must use this platform to rouse the global audience’s support in preventing another situation like the 26/11 attacks.
2. Economic Growth
Witnessing the phenomenon of economic slowdown all over the world and continuing volatility in financial markets, the importance of growth and inclusive development has increased for all countries. In order to search for the solution of the imposition of disproportionately heavy costs on the developing countries, setting the stage for the post-2015 Development Agenda seems to be the right option.
All the more, what needs to be discussed is the need of a supportive international economic environment, enhanced investment flows, including from multilateral development banks transfer of technology, and an open multilateral trading regime.
3. Food Security
The outcomes of the WTO’s (World Trade Organization) meeting at Bali have come out to be disappointing and have left developing countries like India defenseless against the law suits by WTO’s rules. As per the interests of the third world countries, the instituted public stock-holding operations as efforts to prevent starvation should not be considered unlawful, as per WTO’s rules. For developing countries, agriculture is a matter of life and death, so, the issue of forming global trade ties that promote agriculture and subsequently, food security, is paramount to be raised internationally.
4. India’s concerns on climate change
2013 North India floods epitomizes how the changing climate and the rising population disastrously threaten life on earth. Soon, the rising oceans, melting glaciers, unpredictable monsoons, devastating droughts, polluted water sources, growing urban slums, and the resulting societal upheaval, can destroy the over-ambitious society we live in. Immediate measures in this regard are a must and this issue should be essentially raised.
‘For a long time, poverty line has been nothing but a death line.’ World Bank’s revision of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) brings along hope that the worldwide poverty figures may drop. Still, Poverty remains a major political and economic challenge and its eradication requires special attention and a new thrust. The problems of over a billion people living in abject poverty around the world need to be attacked more directly.
6. Conservation of Human Rights
Whether it be the fate of the thousands of Iraqis fleeing their houses or the people in North Korea being subjected to state-backed torture mechanisms, execution and arbitrary imprisonment, deliberate starvation and an almost complete lack of free thought, both the incidents tell the spine chilling stories of a clear violation of human rights.
In the broader arena of human rights, specifically worth mentioning is the discrimination on the basis of gender which has become a worldwide phenomenon in which incidents of sexual exploitation, trafficking, dowry, denial of equal economic opportunities and denial of the basic right to live through acts such as female foeticide have made it necessary for urgent international measures to be taken by the world body
The other vulnerable section includes the children who face obscene atrocities globally. The issue is so inflammable and omnipresent that even the 2014 FIFA world cup marked its beginning with the World’s day against Child Labor highlighting the issue of widespread violationÂ of child rights in the world. Even in India, the instances of child abuse, child marriage, trafficking and prostitution are sky-rocketing and hence, this issue needs to be specifically talked about by Mr. Modi.
7. Securing the integrity of Jammu & Kashmir
The recent news of yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir freshly exemplifies how basic right to life and security is being violated, consequently giving rise to an atmosphere of panic and agitation in the state. A six decade long violence in the state has rendered a state which was once calledÂ “paradise” into a valley of bullets, mortar and corpses.
It is very important to make the world, along with our beloved neighbor, clearly understand the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that there can never, ever, be a compromise with the unity and territorial integrity of India.
At this point in time, all eyes are on Modi. Now it remains to be seen if Modi will rise to the expectations of his fellow countrymen or go down in the books as just another politician handling such matters diplomatically. Its show time!