"Tomorrow Could Be Too Late": Sushma Swaraj Calls For Urgent UN Reform

Sushma Swaraj at UN: The UN needs to follow the format of the family -- to work together for the welfare of all the nations, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said. India doesn't believe that the United Nations should become the instrument of a few at the cost of the many, she stressed.

At UN, Sushma Swaraj spoke at length on cross-border terrorism and the worsening India-Pak relations.

New York:

The United Nations is losing significance in the absence of fundamental reforms, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday. As she spoke at length on cross-border terrorism and the worsening India-Pakistan relations, she also took an opportunity to talk about the need for reforms at the United Nations. She said that multilateralism will collapse if the world body remains ineffective.

"While highlighting the positive role of the UN, I must add that the importance, influence, respect and value of this institution is beginning to ebb," she said.

Ms Swaraj warned against a delay in reforms, and said "tomorrow could be too late".

"The United Nations must accept that it needs fundamental reform. Reform can't be cosmetic. We need change the institution's head and heart to make both compatible to contemporary reality. Reform must begin today; tomorrow could be too late," she said.

She advised that the United Nations must try and emulate the format of a family -- the nations must work together and keep every country's goals in perspective.

One has to feel the pain of others to help them, she said.

"At UN, we cannot say 'this is me and mine'. A family is shaped by love and is not transactional; a family is nurtured by consideration not greed; a family believes in harmony not jealousy. Greed breeds conflict; consideration leads to resolution. That is why the United Nations must be based on the principles of the family," she said.

Drawing a parallel with the fate of the League of Nations, Ms Swaraj said the League went into meltdown because it was unwilling to accept the need for a reform.

"We must not make that mistake. If 2030 is the agreed deadline for delivery on Sustainable Development Goals, then it also marks 100 years of the lapse of the League into irrelevance. Surely there is something to learn from this coincidence?" she said.

India doesn't believe that the United Nations should become the instrument of a few at the cost of the many, she stressed.

"India believes that we must move forward together or we sink into the swamp of stagnation," she said.

India has repeatedly spoken about the need for an early reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) including the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership to enhance its effectiveness and representativeness.

Along with the fellow nations in the G4 bloc, India has maintained that the current composition of the 15-nation Council does not reflect the changed global realities and stressed that UNSC reform is essential to address today's complex challenges.

Highlights

  • Sushma Swaraj said changes cannot be cosmetic, are needed today
  • She said that the UN must accept that it needs fundamental reform
  • Ms Swaraj said UN needs to act like a family and must run on compassion
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