External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Saturday addressed the high-level United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. During her seven-minute speech at 73rd UNGA session, Swaraj launched a scathing attack against Pakistan for “breeding terrorism” and called for reforms in the UN Security Council. The external affairs minister strongly rebutted Pakistan’s allegation that India was sabotaging the process of talks and said that the Indian government had tried to engage in talks many times in the past but the behaviour of the neighbouring country didn’t allow that. Swaraj also called for immediate reforms in the United Nations Security Council, saying that there was a need to change the institution’s head and heart today as tomorrow could be too late.
Here are the key takeaways of Sushma Swaraj’s speech at UNGA:
# On cross-border terrorism: In our case, terrorism is bred not in some faraway land, but across our border. Our neighbour’s expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism; it is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity.
# On cancellation of dialogue with Pakistan: We are accused of sabotaging the process of talks. This is a complete lie. We believe that talks are only rational means to resolve the most complex of disputes. Talks with Pakistan have begun many times. If they stopped, it was only because of their behaviour.
# Climate change and terrorism biggest threats of the world: The biggest challenge of our era comes from the existential threats of climate change and terrorism. If we have to save the world from the adverse effects of climate change, then developed nations must lift the deprived with financial and technical resources.
# On Pakistan's accusation of human rights violation: Who can be a greater transgressor of human rights than a terrorist? Those who take innocent human lives in pursuit of war by other means are defenders of inhuman behaviour, not of human rights. Pakistan glorifies killers; it refuses to see the blood of innocents.
# Pakistan spreading false propaganda against India: Last year, Pakistan’s representative, using right to reply, displayed some photographs as “proof” of “human rights violations” by India. The photographs turned out to be from another country. Similar false accusations have become part of its standard rhetoric.
# On CCIT Draft submitted at UN by India: In 1996, India proposed a draft document on CCIT at the United Nations. Till today, that draft has remained a draft, because we cannot agree on a common language. On the one hand, we want to fight terrorism; on the other, we cannot define it.
# On UNSC reforms: The United Nations must accept that it needs fundamental reform. Reform cannot be cosmetic. We need to change the institution’s head and heart to make both compatible to contemporary reality. Reform must begin today; tomorrow could be too late.