Sushma Swaraj calls for end to conflicts during UN address

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India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has called on world leaders at a peace summit at the UN General Assembly to work to end “conflicts, terror and hateful ideologies that are transcending borders”.

In her address on Monday last week, Swaraj named no country or entity but the call against terror has been a continuing and pressing theme for India at the global forum, as the world’s third-most affected country.

She had a busy week at the UN, as she arrived to join the General Assembly debate, holding nine bilateral meetings with counterparts from across the world, including Australia, Spain and Nepal.

“Our world is still beset with conflicts, terror and hateful ideologies that are transcending borders and impacting our lives,” Swaraj said at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on Monday. “No one should be allowed to support terror or its perpetration.”

India has been at the forefront at the UN to call for an end to terrorism, and especially to prevent member nations from supporting terror and terrorist organizations as a tool of foreign policy. Joined by the US, Britain and France, India has been trying in recent years to persuade a committee appointed by the UN Security Council to designate Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), as a global terrorist to prevent him travelling abroad and to force member nations to freeze his assets and deny him access to weapons.

Batting for Pakistan, where elements support and fund the JeM, China has repeatedly blocked these efforts.

“Our collective survival as a global family requires that the wisdom of pioneering leaders such as Mandela should remain as our moral compass,” Swaraj said at the summit. “We, Indians, consider Madiba (Mandela’s clan name used as a sign of respect) to be one of our own. We are proud to call him a Bharat Ratna — a Jewel of India.”

Among Swaraj’s bilateral meetings was one with foreign minister Marise Payne of Australia, a member of the Quadrilateral security dialogue. The Quad is a group of four nations with the US and Japan that is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“Strategic partnership gaining momentum!” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted about the meeting. “Continuing our frequent engagement at the highest level.”

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