Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. In a 17-minute speech, he spoke about his government’s achievements, warned the world against terrorism and gave a message of harmony, peace and multilateralism.
The theme for this year’s session is “Galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion”. Friday’s debate is the ninth plenary meeting in the session so far, which began on September 17.
Later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also addressed the session in a speech that ran over 45 minutes, criticising India for the situation in Kashmir.
All timestamps are in Indian Standard Time.
9.09 pm: Khan says the world community must give the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination and India must lift the restrictions that have been in place for 55 days.
9.07 pm: He warns of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Khan questions whether the world community will stand up for justice and humanity. “If a conventional war starts between two countries...anything could happen,” he says. “A country of a smaller size will be forced to fight. And when a nuclear armed country fights till the end it will have consequences.”
9.05 pm: “I picture myself, I am in Kashmir, locked for 55 days...there are rapes...,” Khan says. He adds that this will lead to radicalisation of Muslims, and they will pick up guns.
9.02 pm: Khan says that if there is another Pulwama-type attack, India will again blame Pakistan.
9 pm: “What will those people think who have been locked like this,” Khan says. He says there will be “bloodbath” once restrictions are removed in Jammu and Kashmir.
8.58 pm: He questions about the plans of Modi government after they remove “curfew” in Jammu and Kashmir. “Does he want people to quietly accept this?” he questions.
8.57 pm: Khan says: “How can you lock 8 million humans like this in Kashmir?” He adds that in western countries people would not stand even animals being locked up.
8.56 pm: Khan also mentions Modi’s alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots. “The hate ideology allowed RSS goons under Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat to butcher 2,000 Muslims,” he says. “The Congress party gave a statement that terrorists were being trained in RSS camps. Modi was not allowed to travel to the US.”
8.55 pm: The prime minister of Pakistan speaks about Modi’s connection with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He says RSS openly states their hatred for Christians and Muslims.
8.53 pm: Khan says India illegally revoked the special status of Kashmir. “How can they do something like this,” he asks.
8.50 pm: Khan speaks about Balakot strikes and how his country even sent back Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose jet was allegedly shot down in Pakistan before he was captured.
He says Modi did not think about their gesture as a peace process.
8.49 pm: He says he told Modi that both the countries have similar problems and their main priority should be the people. He claims India cancelled a meeting between the foreign ministers of two countries last year.
8.48 pm: He gives a background to his relationship with India. “I love going to India,” he says.
8.45 pm: He says no Pakistani was involved in 9/11, and still 70,000 Pakistan people were killed in the war against terror that followed. Khan says his government has fought against militant organisations since he came to power and observes can come verify this.
8.44 pm: Khan speaks about Jammu and Kashmir.
8.38 pm: Khan blames the Muslim leadership and says they did not explain about the Prophet and Quran to the world.
8.34 pm: He says the basis of all religion is compassion, and the Muslim leadership did not explain that there is no such thing as “radical Islam”.
8.32 pm: “Terrorism has nothing to do with religion,” says Khan. He says this leads to marginalisation. He calls for leaders to address the matter.
8.30 pm: Khan speaks about the third topic, Islamophobia. He says that after 9/11, terrorism got equated with Islam.
8.28 pm: Khan says to address the matter, rich countries need to show political will to fight against tax havens. He questions how will poor countries fight against all this.
8.26 pm: Khan says “billions of dollars are siphoned off, difference between rich and poor countries is growing because of this...poor countries are plundered by the ruling elite.”
8.25 pm: “There must be more emphasis, richer countries responsible for greenhouse gas emissions must be pushed,” says Khan.
8.23 pm: Khan speaks about climate change, says his country has lot of ideas but lacks funding.
8.22 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi not present during Khan’s address.
8.21 pm: Khan says he came to the forum despite a difficult time in his country but feels world must address the problems.
8.20 pm: Pakistan Prime Minister begins his address at the United Nations General Assembly.
8.10 pm: Modi’s speech lasted about 17 minutes. Imran Khan will also speak shortly.
7.57 pm: “The modern technology is bringing big changes to society, personal lives, economy, security, connectivity and international relations,” Modi says. “A divided world in these circumstances is in nobody’s interest. Nor do we have the option to stay limited within our borders. We must give a new strength and new direction to multilateralism and the United Nations.”
7.53 pm: Modi quotes from the speech given by Vivekananda in Chicago in 1893, “Harmony and peace, and not dissension.” He says India’s message to the world is still the same: harmony and peace.
7.49 pm: Modi says a world divided in the name of terrorism hurts the principles behind the formation of the United Nations. Therefore, for the sake of humanity, it is mandatory for the world to be unanimous and united in its opposition to terrorism, he says.
7.48 pm: India has made the most sacrifices for UN peacekeeping missions, Modi says. “We are from the country that gave the world not yuddh [war], but Buddha, and a message of peace, which is why we have both the seriousness and the anger when we warn the world against terrorism,” he says.
7.46 pm: “In the last five years, India has strengthened its great centuries-old tradition of global brotherhood and global welfare,” Modi says.
7.43 pm: Narendra Modi says in terms of per capita emissions, India’s contribution to global warming has been very less but the country has been a leader in taking steps to counter it. He says India has set up the International Solar Alliance and is pushing for renewable energy use.
7.42 pm: Modi says India is starting a mission to eliminate the single-use plastic.
7.40 pm: Modi speaks about the achievements of the health insurance and financial inclusion schemes, and says they show the world a new path and build faith in poor people.
7.39 pm: “When a developing country successfully manages the world’s biggest cleanliness mission, and builds more than 11 crore toilets in just five years, then its systems give an inspirational message to the entire world,” Modi says.
7.38 pm: “I am here because of the massive mandate given by the voters of India,” says Modi.
7.35 pm: Modi says this is the 150th birth year of Mahatma Gandhi, whose message is still relevant for the world today. Follow Modi’s speech here:
7.33 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now begin his address.
7.31 pm: A group of Indian-Americans, under the banner Coalition Against Fascism in India, is protesting near the United Nations headquarters. Signs such as “Stand with Kashmir”, “End Fascism in India” and “End the Occupation of Kashmir” can be seen.
7.17 pm: The third speaker, Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane of Lesotho, is addressing the session.
7.14 pm: During his visit to the United Nations so far, Narendra Modi has met United States President Donald Trump and has also held bilateral talks with leaders of Iran, New Zealand, Belgium, Maldives and Italy among others.
7.06 pm: Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla is speaking at the session now. Indonesia will be followed by Lesotho, and then India.
7.01 pm: In his first speech at the UN General Assembly in 2014, Narendra Modi had spoken about reforms at the world body, had suggested the adoption of an International Yoga Day, and had said that Pakistan must create a suitable atmosphere for bilateral talks.
7 pm: Before Modi had left for the United States, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said he would not discuss Article 370 at the United Nations as it is an internal matter, and would focus on development and other issues.
6.57 pm: “All set for the UN General Assembly session!” tweets Prime Minister Modi.
6.40 pm: Mauritius President Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory is speaking at the session. Narendra Modi is the fourth speaker of the day.
6.30 pm: The plenary meeting has started in New York City, and can be tracked on the United Nations’ YouTube channel. Leaders of 37 countries are expected to address the debate on Friday. India and Pakistan will both address the session during the day.
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