Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking in the name of 1.25 billion compatriots, issued a fervent plea from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly today for genuine global partnership to further peace, inclusive development and an environmentally sustainable world.
“No one country or group of countries can determine the course of this world,” he told leaders of 193 nations on the fourth day of the Assembly’s 69th annual high-level meeting.
“There has to be a genuine international partnership. This is not just a moral position, but a practical reality. We need a genuine dialogue and engagement between countries. Our efforts must begin here - in the United Nations.”
Mr. Modi, whose country has been mentioned as a possible permanent member of an enlarged Security Council, the UN body that is now limited to 15 members, called for UN reform to reflect the current age. “Institutions that reflect the imperatives of 20th century won't be effective in the 21st,” he said, stressing the need to make the Council more democratic and participative.
He also called for concerted international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and more stable and inclusive global development. “Globalization has created new poles of growth; new industries; and new source of employment,” he said.
“At the same time, billions live on the edge of poverty and want; countries that are barely able to survive a global economic storm. There has never been a time when it has seemed more possible than now to change this.”
Turning to environmental issues, he warned that “we need to change our lifestyles. Energy not consumed is the cleanest energy,” he said. “We can achieve the same level of development, prosperity and well-being without necessarily going down the path of reckless consumption. It doesn't mean that economies will suffer; it will mean that our economies will take on a different character.”
He highlighted the ancient Indian tradition of Yoga, embodying unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment, as an active symbol of harmony between man and nature. “It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature,” he said.
“By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
Since Wednesday, speakers have taken to the podium in the UN’s renovated General Assembly Hall to address the 193 Member State on the theme of “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda” as well as urgent crises ranging from the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and South Sudan.