Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, underscored her country’s commitment to the comprehensive implementation of the 2030 Agenda and said that the national parliament has dedicated one day in each session to discuss and monitor its progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We are all aware that one-sixth of humanity lives in India. Therefore, global success in realizing SDGs depends on the success achieved in India,” said Minister Swaraj in her address today.
Reporting that the SDGs are matched by India’s development vision, she outlined national programmes on sanitation, education, poverty alleviation and financial inclusion, promoting innovation in technology, and building skills of the youth and said: “These initiatives have added a new dimension to India's growth story, making it the fastest growing major economy in the world at a time of slow global growth.”
Ms. Swaraj also underlined the seriousness of the threats posed by climate change and called on everyone to curb reckless consumption and to adopt lifestyles that are in harmony with nature. In this context, she particularly emphasized the role of Yoga, which she said embodies a sustainable lifestyle. She also highlighted that the country has launched an initiative to meet 40 per cent of its energy needs through non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
Turning to the global threat of terrorism and underlining that the scourge targets the innocent and kills indiscriminately, she called on the global body to look into who actually benefits from acts of terrorism.
“In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it,” she said, adding: “These nations, in which UN declared terrorists roam freely, lead processions and deliver their poisonous sermons of hate with impunity, are as culpable as the very terrorists they harbour.”
“Such countries should have no place in the comity of nations,” she stressed.
Speaking specifically on Pakistan, she underlined that that India has not set any pre-conditions for dialogue but in fact has reached out to the country numerous times, and added that despite its efforts, India has had to contend with cross-border terrorism.
“My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream,” said Ms. Swaraj referring to, what she called: “The belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets.”
The Indian Minister also called the General Assembly to act with a fresh resolve and urgency to adopt the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which her country has proposed in 1996.
Further, she said reforms at the UN Security Council, including expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent members in the body to reflect contemporary realities, is an urgent necessity.
In conclusion, she called for united and concerted efforts to turn the 21st century into a golden age for humanity and stressed: “But what happens tomorrow will depend on what we do today.”