Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Political convenience must not determine response to terrorism: Jaishankar at UN amid Canada row

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In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, emphasized the need for a principled approach in dealing with terrorism and extremism, seemingly directed at Canada amid an ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two nations. He highlighted that decisions related to terrorism and extremism should not be influenced by “political convenience.”

Jaishankar also stressed the importance of respecting territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, underscoring that these principles should not be selectively applied. He argued that there is a growing emphasis on promoting a rules-based international order, and adherence to the UN Charter should be universal and not subject to cherry-picking.

The minister expressed concern about the dominance of a few nations in shaping global agendas and defining norms, calling for a more equitable and democratic international order. He emphasized that rules must apply uniformly to all nations to be effective.

Jaishankar touched upon issues such as “vaccine apartheid” and the evasion of historical responsibilities in climate action. He cautioned against the misuse of market power to redirect essential resources from the needy to the wealthy.

He also alluded to the strained relations between India and Canada due to the activities of Khalistani activists and threats to India’s diplomatic missions in Canada. The diplomatic tension escalated when Canada expelled an Indian diplomat, with India alleging that Canada did not share information about the killing of a Khalistani terrorist, as claimed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Responding to queries during a recent press conference, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, criticized Canada’s reputation as a safe haven for terrorists, extremists, and organized crime. Bagchi emphasized the need for political will to combat terrorism and questioned whether some nations were justifying or condoning it.

Jaishankar also mentioned that the United Nations would host the Summit of the Future in the coming year, emphasizing its potential to drive change, promote fairness, and reform multilateralism. He called for the expansion of Security Council memberships to address global challenges and urged the world to recognize its shared destiny.

The minister expressed confidence in India’s future, highlighting the nation’s progress, creativity, and technological advancements. He mentioned achievements such as the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, digital governance, expanding amenities and services, infrastructure development, and a thriving startup culture. Jaishankar also highlighted India’s commitment to gender equality, with recent legislation reserving one-third of legislative seats for women.

Jaishankar concluded by emphasizing India’s unique blend of ancient traditions and modernity, describing it as a “civilizational polity” that confidently combines tradition and technology to engage with the world.

In summary, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s address to the UN General Assembly covered various global issues, including counterterrorism efforts, climate change, and the need for a more equitable international order, while also addressing the strained relations between India and Canada.

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