Pandemic, Afghanistan expected to dominate UNGA summit, says Indian envoy to UN T S Tirumurti

India will use its voice at the high-level United Nations General Assembly to forcefully take up global issues such as terrorism, climate change, equitable and affordable access to vaccines, Indo-Pacific and UN reforms, the country’s envoy to the world organisation has said.

The Covid-19 pandemic and developments in Afghanistan are expected to dominate the 76th UNGA session, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told PTI in an exclusive interview. Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic and its humanitarian impact, other issues likely to dominate the high-level segment of the session include the global economic slowdown, terrorism and related issues, climate change, ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, recent developments in Afghanistan and UN Security Council reforms, he said. This year’s UNGA session commenced from September 14 under the Presidency of Abdulla Shahid. The high-level week – the General Debate – will run from September 21, with US President Joe Biden addressing world leaders on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the General Debate on September 25. The 76th UNGA is an important occasion for India for many reasons.

There is an expectation that India, as the leading voice of the developing world as well as the current member of the UN Security Council, will use its voice to take up global issues forcefully. India’s envoy added that the country has the ability to bring the discussions in the General Assembly to a more cooperative and constructive framework “so that we can, together with partners, oppose any divisive agenda which may be pushed or stop existing agenda being weakened”.