Narendra Modi vs Imran Khan: Looking at how UNGA speeches of Indian and Pak prime ministers differ

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Sep 26, 2021, 12:09 AM(IST)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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Both the speeches reflected the different political thinking and the different values of India and Pakistan’s foreign policies. But more importantly, they differed in how Narendra Modi maintained decorum and dignity, while Imran Khan went on a virtual complaining rant.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday delivered his speech at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly and spoke on a range of issues like tackling climate change, the menace of terrorism, calling out UN to improve its credibility and the Afghanistan humanitarian issue, while taking a swipe at Pakistan and China.

In comparison, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan dedicated a major part of his pre-recorded speech to Islamophobia, Muslims, and Kashmir, while painting a positive picture of the Taliban.

Both the speeches reflected the different political thinking and the different values of India and Pakistan’s foreign policies.

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Modi invoked Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore to speak about peace and prosperity; recalled the words of India’s revered strategist Chanakya to call upon UN to restore its credibility; and uttered the words of Indian veteran politician and his political guru Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s vision of ‘antyodaya’—which means where no one is left behind—to highlight the efforts of India in achieving integrated equitable development.

Also read | From pandemic to terrorism: Here are major highlights of PM Narendra Modi's UNGA speech

He also pointed out the strength of democracy in India while speaking about his humble origins as a tea seller then becoming India’s 14th Prime Minister.

Imran Khan, on the other hand, had a familiar pattern to his speech. He mentioned ‘India’ 15 times, ‘Kashmir’ 13 times, ‘terrorism/ terrorist’ 10 times, ‘Muslims’ seven times, ‘Taliban’ seven times and ‘Islam/Islamophobia’ five times.

Also read | Child of a tea seller is addressing UN for fourth time: PM Modi hails strength of Indian democracy

While Modi spoke about India’s achievements in providing housing to people, quality health services to the poor and lifting millions out of poverty. Khan, on the other hand, sought to portray that Pakistan was the victim of terrorism.

“From this platform, I want them all to know that, aside from Afghanistan, Pakistan was the country that suffered the most when we joined the US war on terror after 9/11,” Khan said. 

Also read | Backing terror will be dangerous for you: Indian PM Narendra Modi's veiled warning to Pakistan on Afghanistan

“The only reason we suffered so much was that we became an ally of the US, of the coalition, in the war against Afghanistan, where attacks were being conducted from Afghan soil into Pakistan. At least there should have been a word of appreciation. But rather than appreciation, imagine how we feel when we are blamed for the turn of events in Afghanistan,” he added.

The claims of the Pakistan Prime Minister falls contrary to the fact that the Islamic country has long been known to shelter terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed on its soil. The 9/11 attacks mastermind Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in Pakistan, and the country has several terror camps near the Line of Control with India. One of them in Balakot was hit by Indian airstrikes in February 2019.

(With inputs from agencies)

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