Modi makes spirited pitch for UNSC permanent slot
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a strong pitch for India to be given a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, saying that the country is not asking for it as a favour but as a “right” - having sacrificed the lives of 75,000 soldiers in World War I, being the largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Mission and for being the land that raised the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
He insisted that India has the “right” to be in the UN Security Council and the days of “begging” are gone, while pitching for a permanent seat in the powerful world body. Addressing a congregation of NRIs in Paris before winding up his four-day tour of France, Modi on Saturday night, said that India had made lot of sacrifices for world peace since World War I and even after the UN was founded. It has been the largest contributor to the peacekeeping forces across the world, he said.
“Still, India continues to yearn for a (permanent) seat in the UN Security Council. I urge the world, it is time to respect the peacekeeping efforts. It is the right of the sentiments of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha. Those days are gone when India had to beg. Now our nation wants its right,” he
“There is hardly any other country, which has such moral authority as the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha. I hope that when the United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary (this year), it will think about this,” he said.
India has been pitching for a permanent seat in the expanded membership of the UNSC, arguing that the existing body does not truly reflect the contemporary world realities. To buttress his point, Modi referred to his visit earlier in the day to a war memorial in Lille region of France, set up as a tribute to about 10,000 Indians who got martyred while fighting alongside France in World War I.
Modi said that he wanted to send out a message to the world to realise that Indians have been ready to sacrifice their lives for peace for centuries. “I want the world to know that 14 lakh Indians put their lives at risk by participating in the World War I. Who were they fighting for? Not for India or expansion of India. Thousands of years of India’s history testify to the fact that it has never indulged in aggression,” Modi said.
“Indian soldiers fought shoulder-to-shoulder with France…They fought for somebody else,” he added. “Sometimes, history is forgotten. Those who forget history will lose their right to write one,” he said, adding that, “India is known for its sacrifices…One can fight for oneself, but to die for others is different.” India along with Brazil, Germany and Japan has formed the G4 grouping to press for speedy UNSC reforms and their inclusion in the powerful organ of the world body.