Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India, now the most populous country, “needs to regain its rightful place”, in a strong push for permanent membership of the country in the UN Security Council.
“The issue is not just of credibility, but something much larger. How can the UN Security Council claim to speak for the world when its most populous country and its largest democracy is not a permanent member?” PM Modi said in an interview with French publication Les Echos.
The UN Security Council epitomised the dissonance of an institution not in step with a changed world order, he said.
“Its skewed membership leads to opaque decision making processes, which adds to its helplessness in addressing the challenges of today. I think most countries are clear on what changes they would like to see in the UN Security Council, including on the role India should play.” He added that French President Emmanuel Macron shared the view.
PM Modi spoke to the French media at his official residence in Delhi, before flying to France, where he will be the guest of honour at the Bastille Day celebrations on Friday.
“As the world’s largest democracy, with unparalleled social and economic diversity, our success will demonstrate that democracy delivers. That it is possible for harmony to exist amidst diversity. At the same time, there is a natural expectation of adjustments in the international system and institutions to give the rightful place to the world’s largest democracy,” he said.
The Prime Minister also emphasised on India’s role as a bridge between the Global South and the west.
“The rights of the Global South have been long denied. As a result, there is a feeling of anguish among the members of Global South, that they are forced into undertaking action but when it comes to decision making they don’t find a place or voice for themselves. The true spirit of democracy has not been respected vis-a-vis the Global South,” he said.
PM Modi also elaborated on his oft-quoted comment to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine war, that today is not an era of war.
The conflict must ned, he said, expressing deep concern about its impact on the world, especially the Global South.
“India’s stand has been clear, transparent and consistent. I have said that it is not an era of war. We have urged both sides to resolve issues through dialogue and diplomacy. I told them that India is ready to support all genuine efforts that can help bring this conflict to an end. We believe that all countries have an obligation to respect the respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, to abide by international law and adhere to the UN Charter,” he said.
On India’s soft power, PM Modi said: “Our exports have never been war and subjugation, but yoga, ayurveda, spirituality, science, mathematics, and Astronomy. We have always been a contributor to global peace and progress.”
He also said the world makes progress only when it learns to let go of anachronistic and outdated notions, responding to a question on whether he considered “western values” to be universal or whether other countries should find their own path.