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Sunday, February 18, 2018

A mature statement 

Thursday, 05 October 2017 13:19
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External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj's address to the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York reflects India's matured understanding of, and approach to world affairs and the challenges it faces in contemporary times. Speaking a day or two after Pakistani Prime Minister's address to the session, which he maximally devoted to Pakistan's perpetual lament for Kashmir, observers anticipated a befitting rebuttal from her and thereby converting the Indo-Pak traditional spat as one of the most non-serious and uncared for subjects at the General Assembly. That was not the case. Though she did refer to Pakistan's customary Kashmir innuendoes, but that did not in anyway submerge the main theme of her eloquent address viz. the challenges of global terrorism, climatic change, nuclear proliferation, and security and Indian Ocean trade routes and more importantly the need for reforms of the world body as was promised in 2005. By inviting attention of the comity of nations to these common threats, Indian External Affairs Minister demonstrated high watermark of Indian statesmanship. This is what a big country and the world's largest democracy is expected to do at the important international forum. If saner among Pakistan's commentators try to read between the lines of Sushma's address, they will definitely come to the conclusion that the few sentences which she said were less in repudiation of Pakistani Prime Minister's litany of accusations and more in her regret for the people of Pakistan whose leaders have pushed the country into the hands of terrorists and their murderous organizations. It is for the people of Pakistan to make some introspection and try to analyze where their not nationalistic but ethnic oriented political and military leadership is leading them to. Swaraj firmly but succinctly reiterated Modi Government's perception that terrorism has spread its fangs almost all over the world and as such world community must come together to find a common solution to this menace. It is obvious that some big countries are not sincere in meeting this unprecedented challenge to human societies. There are still governments and countries that are not able to define once for all what terrorism is and who is a terrorist despite knowing all nuances of this phenomenon. Referring to the need for bringing about healthy reform in the structure of the UN and some of its vital organs like Security Council, the foreign minister said that not to say of actually bringing in reforms as was suggested in a resolution of 2005, the Security Council cannot develop consensus on designating known terrorists, individuals and organizations just because of political considerations and interests. It did not bring a message of happiness to the mankind. This raises a serious question. Should contemporary society accept state or non-state terrorism as an inevitable facet of our life on this planet? Have modern world society compulsions to accept the consequences of the war of civilizations in which the ideology of democracy and freedom of expression have to be replaced by antiquated ways of life and of thinking? These are the questions which can be debated and pondered over at the world forum like UN only when there is structural change at the UN and the handlers are prepared to share the global concerns like these. Swaraj's address has a few interesting dimensions. Despite the fact that our experiment of running a heterogeneous society that comprises nearly one-fifth of world's population through democratic, secular and egalitarian practices, there are countries that feel uneasy with it just because they cannot abandon their legacy of a closed mindset. They are haunted by our experiment and want to scuttle it by prompting and exaggerating minor controversies and misunderstandings, a phenomenon not uncommon to societies with ancient and stable civilization. Another important dimension of Swaraj's speech was that of true and deep intentions of establishing friendly relations with one and all especially the countries with who we have been on loggerheads for one or the other reason.  Indeed Swaraj's address was a bold, clear and sincere expression of India's reaction to the world situation that surrounds us today. 

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