Sushma Swaraj in address to UN, acknowledges previous governments’ development efforts

In a display of unity on the world stage, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj paid a compliment on September 23rd to previous governments in India, including the Congress party, by acknowledging their efforts to build India. She also showcased the demonetisation and the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) as successes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Outlining the contrasting trajectories of India and Pakistan during her address to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on Saturday, she said: “There have been many governments under many parties during 70 years of Indian freedom, for we have been a sustained democracy. Every government has done its bit for India’s development.”

“We have marched ahead, consistently, without pause, in education, health and across the range of human welfare,” she said, setting aside the rancorous debates at home. “We established scientific and technical institutions which are the pride of the world.”

“We produced scholars, doctors, engineers,” she said recognizing the contributions of governments that preceded Modi’s election three years ago. “Today India is a recognized IT superpower in the world.”

The Congress party ruled India close to 60 years of independent India’s 70 years. “Doctors save people from death, terrorists send them to death,” she said contrasting the achievements of the two neighbors birthed a day part in 1947. “Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror.”

Among social programs, she said the “Save the girl, Educate the girl'” campaign is reducing gender inequality, while the Swach Bharat — Clean India — program is generating “a revolutionary change in social attitudes and habits.”

The scope of the Jan Dhan program of opening bank accounts for 300 million people – about the size of the United States population – made it “the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme,” she said.

Highlights of External Affairs Minister Swaraj’s address to the United Nations on Saturday: *World is trapped in a deluge of troubles of which the most dangerous is the relentless rise of violence and terrorism, and the ideas that promote them are spreading.

*Climate change threatens the world and developed countries have to step up to help the developing countries deal with it.

*Nuclear proliferation has re-emerged as a global threat — a reference to North Korea.

*Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen “the more radical route” of fighting poverty by empowering the poor, ho had been denied opportunities, instead of the traditional method of “incremental levels of aid and hand-holding.”

*In an unusual gesture to the Opposition, especially the Congress party, Swaraj acknowledged, “Every government has done its bit for India’s development.”

*Demonetization was a courageous decision to challenge one of the by-products of corruption, the “black money” that disappeared from circulation.

*More than 160 countries support text-based negotiations on the reform and expansion of the Security Council and adopting it and continuing with the reform efforts should be a priority.

*Terrorism is the top problem for the UN and the Comprehensive Compact on International Terrorism should be adopted.

*If the Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists, the world can’t fight terror. “Stop seeing this evil with self-defeating and indeed meaningless nuance.

*Swaraj lampooned Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s attacks on India as a way to blunt them in the international forum: “He accused India of State-sponsored terrorism, and of violating human rights. Those listening had only one observation: ‘Look who’s talking’.”

*India has offered the hand of friendship and agreed to bilateral dialogue, but “Pakistan is responsible for the aborting that peace process.”

*Contrast the flow of history between the two neighbours: National development for the people in India and development of factories of terror export in Pakistan.

*Pakistan’s leadership should introspect why the two nations were on different trajectories.

*UN resolutions have been overtaken by history and bilateral negotiations are the only way forward.

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