External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on Saturday said one of the key takeaways from his visit to the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York was how India is being perceived as the "Voice of the Global South."
" We are today perceived very widely as the voice of the Global South. There is a huge crisis right now in the world economy, where the costs of food the cost of fuel...there is worry about fertilisers. There is great frustration that these issues are not being heard," Jaishankar said.
At UNGA, India used the global stage to step up its diplomatic engagements in the bilateral and plurilateral formats stressing on South-South cooperation which is a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains.
"These are very deep anxieties for a lot of countries. The debt situation for example, and there is great frustration that these issues are not being heard. They're not being voiced. They're not going up the chain in the global consoles. And to the extent, there is anybody at all who's speaking up and voicing the sentiments it is India. Therefore, part of the reason why I think there were so many meetings with my counterparts was the gut feeling that you know, this is a country which speaks for many of us," Jaishankar told reporters as he concluded the New York leg of his 10-day visit to the United States on Saturday.
During his visit, the External Affairs Minister interacted with more than 100 counterparts, some bilaterals, multilateral and the others plurilateral on the sidelines of the UNGA.
After concluding his high-level discussions on Saturday afternoon, Jaishankar interacted with a group of reporters.
On being asked whether India's focus on Global South or South-South was returning in some ways to an early adopter of Indian foreign policy, Jaishankar asserted, " Global South solidarity has always been with us, it's part of our DNA."
Jaishankar said that there have been a number of initiatives and partnerships that India has taken the lead in the establishment of the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and Vaccine Maitri that have scaled up under the Modi administration.
"We have approved, implemented completed something like about 700 projects in 70 countries ...i think translating vision into delivery is Prime Minister Modi's strong point. So, therefore, much more of it is visible on the ground. And because more is visible on the ground, the other party also feels more things are happening." Jaishankar added.
Earlier today at a special event [email protected] and India's unique partnership with the United Nations (UN), was organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, led by India's permanent representative Ruchira Kamboj. India was lauded by some of the top officials of the United Nations along with leaders from the global south who highlighted India's partnership with the UN and particularly its South-South Cooperation.
The 90-minute discussion was attended by the President of the UN General Assembly, UN Deputy Secretary-General and foreign ministers of Armenia, Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Jamaica, Tanzania, Maldives, Gambia, Timor-Leste, Cyprus and Yemen lauding India's contribution om vaccines, food security, development projects and international peacekeeping
Jamaica's Foreign Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, recalled the devastating consequences of the pandemic for her country and hailed India's Vaccine Maitri stating that her country was "Deeply grateful to people of India led by PM Modi, Jaishankar."
Guyana's Foreign Minister, Hugh Hilton Todd, spoke about the role India has played in helping countries in the Caribbean with its pandemic management, especially with the provision of vaccines, there was emotion and a sense of deep gratitude in his voice.
"Can you imagine this is a country which has to take care of 1.3 billion of its citizens, yet finds time to help the world?", he added.
Tanzania's Foreign Minister, Liberata Mulamula, said, "Our countries agree on everything. We are committed to ending colonialism, to non-alignment, to south-south cooperation, combating climate change, SDGs and work together in maintaining global peace and participate together in peacekeeping operations."