New Delhi: In a strong rebuke to Canada for its sloth attitude towards India's concerns over terrorism, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday said that political convenience cannot determine responses to terrorism, extremism and violence. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, without naming Canada directly, Mr Jaishankar stressed that respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs cannot be exercised in cherry-picking.
“When reality departs from rhetoric, we must have the courage to call it out. Without genuine solidarity, there can never be real trust,” said the external affairs minister.
Pushing for early reform and expansion in the United Nations Security Council, Mr Jaishankar said the days when a few nations set the agenda and expected others to fall in line are over.
To strengthen India’s candidature in the reformed UNSC, the external affairs minister gave the example of how the African Union was admitted as a permanent member of the G-20.
“By doing so, we gave voice to an entire continent, which has long been its due. This significant step in reform should inspire the United Nations, a much older organisation, to also make the Security Council contemporary. Broad representation is, after all, a prerequisite for both effectiveness and credibility,” Mr Jaishankar said.
The external affairs minister added that next year, the United Nations will be hosting the "Summit of the Future" and this should serve as a “serious opportunity to drive change, champion fairness and reform multilateralism, including the expansion of the Security Council memberships.”
Ms Jaishankar highlighted that at a time when East-West polarisation is sharp and North-South divide is deep, the New Delhi summit also affirms that diplomacy and dialogue are the only effective solutions. “The international order is diverse and we must cater for divergences, if not differences. The days when a few nations set the agenda and expected others to fall in line are over,” he said.
The external affairs minister further said that though during deliberations everyone advocates the promotion of a rules-based order and respect for the UN Charter, it is still a few nations that shape the agenda and seek to define the norms.
“But for all the talk, it is still a few nations that shape the agenda and seek to define the norms. This cannot go on indefinitely. Nor will it go unchallenged. A fair, equitable and democratic order will surely emerge once we all put our minds to it. And for a start, that means ensuring that rule-makers do not subjugate rule-takers. After all, rules will work only when they apply equally to all,” he said.
In this context, Mr Jaishankar mentioned that injustice like vaccine apartheid should not be allowed to recur, climate action cannot continue to witness the evasion of historical responsibilities and the power of markets should not be utilised to steer food and energy from the needy to the wealthy.
The external affairs minister said India seeks to promote cooperation with diverse partners. “From the era of non-alignment, we have now evolved to that of Vishwa Mitra. This is reflected in our ability and willingness to engage with a broad range of nations. And, where necessary, harmonise interests,” Mr Jaishankar said.
"Mr President, all nations pursue their national interests. We, in India, have never seen that as being in contradiction with the global good. When we aspire to be a leading power, this is not for self-aggrandisement but to take on greater responsibility and make more contributions. The goals we have set for ourselves will make us different from all those whose rise preceded ours," Mr Jaishankar said.