India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 25, 2021 in New York. Photograph:( AFP )
Prime Minister Modi said that all kinds of questions are being raised about the United Nations' crediblity.
In the backdrop of WHO facing criticism over COVID-19 origins prorbe and the World Bank discontinuing its flagship Ease of Doing Business report following alleged irregularities, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday pointed to holes in the functioning of the United Nations, saying that the global body must rise up to the occasion and restore its credibility.
Addressing the 76th UN General Assembly, the prime minister, while quoting Indian diplomat Chanakya, said, “When the right action is not taken at the right time, then it is time itself that causes the action to fail.”
“If the United Nations wants to remain relevant. It will need to improve its effectiveness and enhance its reliability," he said.
The prime minister appeared to be referring to a report of independent scrutiny by leading US law firm WilmerHale which showed that China in 2017 manipulated its data to improve its ranking in the Ease of Doing Business index.
The UN’s health agency, World Health Organization, was also criticised for mishandling the COVID-19 outbreak --which first surfaced in China in December 2019-- due to Chinese interference..
Former US president Donald Trump had slammed the WHO as a “puppet” of China and accused it of covering up the start of the outbreak and allowing the virus to spread around the entire world.
Modi said that today, all kinds of questions have been raised about the UN.
"We have seen such questions being raised, related to the climate crisis and during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
“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.
“It is essential that we constantly strengthen the UN, in order to safeguard global order, global laws and global values,” Modi said.
In a veiled reference to China’s military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region, Modi said, “We must protect them from the race for expansion. The international community must speak in one voice to strengthen a rule-based world order... Our oceans are also our shared heritage. That is why, we have to keep in mind that we use ocean resources, not abuse them.”
(With inputs from agencies)