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At UN meet, PM Modi calls for ‘reformed multilateralism’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Calling on members of the United Nations to pledge for reform within the world body, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the multilateral system needs to more representative, and that India believes “the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity” is through multilateralism, in a speech focusing on India’s battle against the coronavirus epidemic.

“Only reformed multilateralism with a reformed United Nations at its centre can meet the aspirations of humanity,” said PM Modi, speaking at a high-level dialogue of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on the subject ‘Multilateralism after COVID-19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th Anniversary?’ on Friday.

Also read | No room for complacency, says PM Modi after COVID-19 review

The PM addressed the ECOSOC gathering virtually, along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Outlining India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Modi said that India has extended assistance to more than 150 countries, and helped set up a SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) COVID-19 emergency fund in the South Asian neighbourhood. He also detailed economic measures to manage the impact of the pandemic, including a government package of $300 billion to “bring the economy back on track, build modern infrastructure and put in place a technology-driven system”.

“In the fight against COVID, our grassroots health system is helping India ensure one of the best recovery rates in the world,” PM Modi said.

This week, India crossed the 1 million mark for coronavirus cases, making it the third highest incidence in the world, and India also has the third highest recoveries at about 644,000, after the U.S. and Brazil. However, its recovery rate is about 63%, which ranks India at number 42 in the world, not one of the best.

“The United Nations was originally born from the furies of the Second World War. Today, the fury of the pandemic provides the context for its rebirth and reform. Let us not lose this chance,” Mr. Modi added, indicating India’s push for a permanent seat in a more globally representative United Nations Security Council.

Earlier, addressing the ECOSOC gathering, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the world is in the middle of a “deepening calamity” and that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to “an acute health and economic crisis, the severity of which has not been seen in nearly a century” with effects on food, trade, health, climate.

“At this pivotal moment, with COVID-19 still spreading, geopolitical tensions rising, and the cry for racial justice, social justice and climate justice ever more urgent, we have a responsibility to respond to the anxieties, fears and hopes of the people we serve,” Mr. Guterres said.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 3:22:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/at-un-meet-modi-calls-for-reformed-multilateralism/article32118114.ece

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