New York: Taking a break from his economic agenda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned to diplomacy for a while Thursday to further India’s goal of a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, holding bilateral meetings with leaders of Bangladesh, Guyana and St. Vincent and Grenadines.
During their meeting, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed support for council reform, external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.
It was a “good meeting” and the leaders reviewed the progress in bilateral relations, he said. They expressed “great satisfaction” with the recent land transfers between the two countries.
Another topic to come up for discussions was the regional connectivity through the Bhutan-Bangldesh-India-Nepal (BBIN) road network, he said.
Although it has a population of only about 100,000, the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and Grenadines has a vote in the UN General Assembly and countries like it can break or make crucial decisions. Such small nations are a key element in India’s council seat diplomacy.
Modi thanked Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves for his country’s support for the reform process and leadership in having the negotiating text for it adopted by the UN General Assembly.
Modi and Gonsalves talked about developing bilateral relations and India’s assistance in that nation’s development. Modi invited Gonsalves to visit India.
The bilateral meeting with Guyanese Prime Minister David Granger was significant for two reasons: About 40 percent of the Caribbean nation’s population is of Indian descent and it supports UN Council reforms. Modi and Granger discussed the reform process.
They also discussed bilateral relations and development. India has pledged $50 million for a major road-building project there. They also discussed the terrorism threats the two nations faced and expressed support for an international convention against terrorism.
Granger, who last visited India 44 years ago, received an invitation to visit the country.