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Modi won’t attend Sept UN General Assembly summit

Modi, who was in Washington in June to address the US Congress, had attended the last two UN summits. According to the provisional schedule, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is to speak on September 26, the last day of the general debate, which is the summit part of the Assembly session.

The president-elect of the 71st Assembly session, Peter Thomson of Fji, has set as its theme, “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform Our World.” It follows up “Agenda 30”, the 17 sustainable development goals to be reached by 2030, that last year’s 70th UN anniversary summit adopted.

In 2014, as the newly elected Prime Minister, Modi presented at the UN summit his vision for India’s foreign policy that decisively moved away from the vestiges of the polemics of the anti-colonial era while committing to promotion of global democracy. He also pitched the creation of International 
Yoga Day, which was quickly adopted by the Assembly.

Last year Modi’s address spotlighted his development agenda. At a summit on peacekeeping convened at the UN by US President Barack Obama, he reaffirmed India’s commitment to UN peacekeeping operations with an offer to increase India’s personnel contribution by sending three police units made up mostly of women and 850 troops.

On the provisional list of those attending this year are 101 heads of state and 48 prime ministers from the 193 member countries.

While the speeches get the limelight, the real action at the summit is in the series of meetings between world leaders gathered at one place. They are organised like speed-dating as they flit from one meeting to the next to maximise the face-to-face contacts. 
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