‘Regressive thinking’: At UNGA, PM Modi takes swipe at Pakistan for using terrorism as political tool

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In a veiled attack on Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said countries with “regressive thinking” using terrorism as a “political tool” should understand that it is an “equally big threat” for them also.

Addressing world leaders at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, PM Modi said, “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 also emphasised the need to ensure that Afghanistan’s territory is not used to spread terrorism or for terrorist activities. “On the other hand, countries with regressive thinking that are using terrorism as a political tool must understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them,” Modi cautioned in an apparent reference to Pakistan which is often accused by its neighbours, including Afghanistan’s previous government and India, of providing safe haven to terrorists.

Pakistan has close ties with the Afghan Taliban, including its dreaded faction the Haqqani Network, which has seized control of Kabul last month. The Haqqani Network, believed to be behind a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan, was accused of bombing the Indian mission in Kabul in 2008, which left 58 people dead.

PM Modi, who was on a three-day visit to the US, said that the world must fulfil its duty by providing help to the people in war-torn Afghanistan where women, children and minorities are in need.

“At this time, the people of Afghanistan, the women and children of Afghanistan, and the minorities of Afghanistan need help. And we must fulfill our duty by providing them with this help,” Modi said.

‘When India grows, world grows & when India reforms, world transforms’

Speaking at the UN General Debate, PM Modi touched upon India’s achievements in the field of technological innovations, vaccine manufacturing, potable water, health and insurance, and said, “When India grows, world grows. When India reforms, world transforms.”

Mentioning that development should be all-inclusive, all-pervasive, universal and one that nurtures all, he said the science and technology-based innovations taking place in India can make a big contribution to the world. “The scalability of tech solutions and cost effectiveness are both unparalleled. Over 3.5 billion transactions are taking place every month in India through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI),” the Prime Minister said.

He added that India’s vaccine delivery platform CoWIN is capable enough to provide digital support to register the administration of millions of vaccine doses in a single day. He also declared that India has developed the world’s first DNA Covid vaccine.

“During the last seven years, India has brought over 430 million people who were previously unbound into the banking system. Today, over 360 million people who earlier could not even imagine this was possible now have insurance coverage as security,” the Prime Minister said.

By providing the facility of free treatment in hospitals to over 500 million people, India has given them access to quality health services, he said. “By building 30 million proper homes, India has made homeless families homeowners,” he added.

Speaking about potable water, he said, “In order to address the challenge of polluted water, we in India are carrying out a very big campaign to ensure that piped clean water reaches over 170 million homes, which reputed institutions of the world have said is important for the development of any country.”

‘I represent a country that’s proud to be known as mother of democracy’

Citing his own rise from a tea-seller at a railway station to the head of a country to underline the strength of India’s democracy, PM Modi said he represents a country that is proudly known as mother of democracy.

“We have had a great tradition of democracy that goes back to thousands of years. I represent a country that is proud to be known as the mother of democracy. On 15th of August this year, India entered into the 75th year of its independence,” he said.

“Our diversity is the identity of our strong democracy,” he said adding that India has dozens of languages, hundreds of dialects, different lifestyles and cuisines.

Talking about his experience of leading a democracy, he said “I will soon have spent 20 years serving my countrymen as head of government. First, as the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat and then as the Prime Minister for the last seven years. I am saying this from my experience. Yes, democracy can deliver. Yes, democracy has delivered.”

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