Dig at Pakistan, 'make in India' push: Key takeaways from PM Modi's UNGA address

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NEW DELHI: From terror to maritime security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched upon a range of global issues in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday.
In his 22-minute address at the UNGA in New York — his fourth so far — the Prime Minister also praised the role played by India in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic and directed sharp remarks at Pakistan and China.
Here are the five key takeaways from PM Modi's address:
Pakistan
In a veiled attack on Pakistan, PM Modi said that countries with "regressive thinking" that are using terrorism as a "political tool" must understand that it is an "equally big threat" for them also.
India has often slammed Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists.
The Prime Minister also called for ensuring that no country "tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests."

"Today, the world is facing an increased threat of regressive thinking and extremism. In such a situation, the entire world must make science-based, rational and progressive thinking the basis for development. In order to strengthen a science-based approach, India is promoting experience-based learning,” he told the UNGA meeting.
Pakistan's neighbours, including Afghanistan's previous government and India as well as US have long accused Islamabad of providing safe haven and support to militants.
Pakistan's ISI has close ties with the Afghan Taliban, including its dreaded faction the Haqqani Network, which has seized control of Kabul last month.
On Friday, India upbraided Pakistan both in Washington and at the United Nations as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed to the world to work with Afghanistan's triumphant Taliban.
PM Modi raised concerns about Pakistan during talks with US President Joe Biden as well as a broader four-way summit with the leaders of Australia and Japan, according to Indian officials, who said the others concurred.
"There was a clear sense that a more careful look and a more careful examination and monitoring of Pakistan's role in Afghanistan — Pakistan's role on the issue of terrorism — had to be kept," foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters after the White House talks.
China
In his speech, PM Modi stressed on the need to protect oceans from "the race for expansion and exclusion."
"Our oceans are also the lifeline of international trade. We must protect them from the race for expansion," PM Modi said.
India and China have long competed for influence in the Indian Ocean.
PM Modi added that the international community must speak in one voice to strengthen rule-based world order.
Speaking in Hindi, PM Modi said that the broad consensus reached in the UN Security Council during India's presidency in August showed to the world the way forward for maritime security.
During their bilateral talks on Friday, both PM Modi and President Joe Biden welcomed increased cooperation under the Quad grouping, including in the multilateral domain.
The countries reiterated their shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region with respect to territorial integrity and sovereignty, and international law.
The Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.
Covid-19
The Prime Minister started his speech by paying respects to the millions of people who lost their lives to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"In the last 1.5 years, the entire world has been facing the worst pandemic in 100 years, I pay tribute to all those have lost their lives in this deadly pandemic and I express my condolences to their families," he said.
The Prime Minister lauded the role played by India in helping the world combat the pandemic.
"India, which lives on Sewa Paramo Dharma (service is the main duty), is engaged in vaccination development and manufacturing despite limited resources. I want to inform UNGA that India has developed the world's first DNA vaccine, which can be administered to all people above the age of 12 years," Modi said.
"Another mRNA vaccine is in its late stages of development. Scientists in India are also engaged in the development of a nasal vaccine for Corona," the PM added.
India's vaccine delivery platform - COWIN, is providing digital support for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses in a single day, he said.
He said that India has also started giving vaccines to the needy of the world, referring to the government's plan to resume exports of anti-Covid shots next month.
The Prime Minister used the stage to invite global vaccine manufacturers to "Make in India".
UN reforms
The Prime Minister also batted strongly for reforms at United Nations in order to safeguard global order, global laws and global values.
He said that the credibility of bodies like UN have come into question lately over issues like Covid-19 origins and climate crisis.
"We have seen such questions being raised, related to the climate crisis and during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.
The World Health Organisation, the UN's health agency, has faced criticism since the Covid-19 outbreak first surfaced in China in December 2019.
WHO faced criticism for mishandling the crisis.
PM Modi further said that proxy war going on in many parts of the world, terrorism and the recent crisis in Afghanistan have further highlighted the seriousness of these questions.
"With regard to the origin of Covid-19 and the ease of doing business rankings, institutions of global governance have damaged the credibility they had built after decades of hard work," he said.
The World Bank recently said it is discontinuing its flagship Doing Business publication, citing “data irregularities” in recent editions of the global business climate index.
The decision was taken after a probe of data irregularities allegedly due to pressure by some top bank officials to boost China's ranking in 2017 came to light.
"It is essential that we constantly strengthen the UN, in order to safeguard global order, global laws and global values," Modi said.
Democracy
PM Modi said that he represents a country which is proud to be known as the "mother of democracy".
The Prime Minister India's great tradition of democracy which goes back to thousands of years.
"I represent the country which is known as the mother of democracy. India enters 75 years of its independence this year. Our diversity is the identity of our strong democracy," he said.
"In a country that has dozens of languages, hundreds of dialects, different lifestyles and cuisines. This is the best example of vibrant democracy," he added.
He also cited his own rise from a tea seller at a railway station to that as prime minister to underscore the strength of India's democracy.
"Yes, democracy can deliver, democracy will deliver," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)

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