‘Essential to ensure Afghan territory not used for terrorism’
*Modi concludes 3-day productive visit to US
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 25:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that countries with “regressive thinking” that are using terrorism as a “political tool” must understand that it is an “equally big threat” for them also, in a veiled attack on Pakistan which is accused by its neighbours of providing safe havens to terrorists.
Addressing the 76th UN General Assembly session here, Prime Minister Modi also called for ensuring that no country “tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests.”
“Today, the world is facing an increased threat of regressive thinking and extremism. In such a situation, the entire world must make science-based, rational and progressive thinking the basis for development. In order to strengthen a science-based approach, India is promoting experience-based learning,” he told the UNGA meeting.
“On the other hand, countries with regressive thinking that are using terrorism as a political tool must understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them,” Modi said in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s neighbours, including Afghanistan’s previous government and India, and the US have long accused Islamabad of providing safe haven and support to militants.
Modi said it is absolutely essential to ensure that Afghanistan territory is not used to spread, terrorism, and for terrorist attacks.
“We also need to ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests,” he said.
Pakistan, specially its intelligence agencies, has close ties with the Afghan Taliban, including its dreaded faction the Haqqani Network, which has seized control of Kabul last month.
In his speech, Prime Minister Modi said that the world must fulfil its duty by providing help to the people in war-torn Afghanistan where women, children and minorities are in need.
“At this time, the people of Afghanistan, the women and children of Afghanistan, and the minorities of Afghanistan need help. And we must fulfill our duty by providing them with this help,” Modi said.
Last month, India had warned that a “grave” humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the war-torn country and everyone is concerned about the increasing violations of fundamental rights of the Afghan people.
“The women and children of Afghanistan, the minorities of Afghanistan need help. And we must fulfil our duty by providing them with this help,” Modi said.
He said India has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine against COVID-19, which can be administered to all people above the age of 12 years.
“India, which lives on Sewa Paramo Dharma (service is the main duty), is engaged in vaccination development and manufacturing despite limited resources. I want to inform UNGA that India has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine, which can be administered to all people above the age of 12 years,” Modi said.
Last month, the Drugs Controller General of India gave Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to Zydus Cadila’s indigenously developed needle-free COVID-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D, which is to be administered to beneficiaries in the age group of 12-18 years in the country.
“Another mRNA vaccine is in its late stages of development. Scientists in India are also engaged in the development of a nasal vaccine for Corona. Realising its responsibility towards humanity, India has once again started giving vaccines to the needy of the world. I also invite vaccine manufacturers from all over the world today to- Come, Make Vaccine in India,” the Prime Minister said.
ZyCoV-D when injected, produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response, which plays a vital role in protection from coronavirus as well as viral clearance.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will bring home 157 artefacts and antiquities, which were handed over to India by the US during his visit, with both he and President Joe Biden expressing commitment to strengthening efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and trafficking of cultural objects.
While nearly half of the artefacts (71) are cultural, the other half consists of figurines related to Hinduism (60), Buddhism (16) and Jainism (9), an official statement said on Saturday.
Modi conveyed his deep appreciation for the repatriation of antiquities to India by the United States.
The list of 157 artefacts includes a diverse set of items ranging from the one-and-a-half metre bas relief panel of Revanta in sandstone of the 10th CE to the 8.5 cm tall, exquisite bronze Nataraja from the 12th CE.
This continues the efforts by the Modi government to bring back India’s antiquities and artefacts from across the world, it said.
Government sources said that only 13 antiquities were retrieved by India from different countries between 1976 and 2013.
However, between 2014, when Modi came to power, and 2021, over 200 antiquities have either returned or are in the process of being returned, they added.
Between 2004 and 2014, only one ancient antiquity returned to India, the sources said.
The Modi Government has brought back more ancient Indian treasures than the four decades before it, they claimed
Referring to the items handed over to India by the US during Modi’s ongoing trip, the official statement said they largely belong to the period of 11th CE to 14th CE as well as historic antiquities such as the copper anthropomorphic object of 2000 BC or the terracotta vase from the 2nd CE. Some 45 antiquities belong to Before Common Era, it said.
Their make spreads across metal, stone and terracotta, the statement said.
The bronze collection primarily contains ornate figurines of the well-known postures of Lakshmi Narayana, Buddha, Vishnu, Siva Parvathi and the 24 Jain Tirthankaras and the less common Kankalamurti, Brahmi and Nandikesa besides other unnamed deities and divine figures.
The statement noted that the motifs include religious sculptures from Hinduism— three headed Brahma, chariot driving Surya, Vishnu and his consorts, Siva as Dakshinamurti and dancing Ganesha among others, Buddhism— standing Buddha, Boddhisattva Majushri, Tara, and Jainism— Jain Tirthankara, Padmasana Tirthankara, Jaina Choubisi, as well as secular motifs, including amorphous couple in Samabhanga and chowri-bearer female playing drum among others.
There are 56 terracotta pieces and an 18th CE sword with sheath with inscription mentioning Guru Hargovind Singh in Persian, it added.
Meanwhile, stepping up their joint fight againt terrorism, India and the US have said that they will take concerted action against all terror groups, including those proscribed by the United Nations, condemned cross-border terrorism and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.
A Joint Statement issued after the first bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday said that the United States and India stand together in a shared fight against global terrorism.
The two leaders reaffirmed that the United States and India “will take concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee.”
They “condemned cross-border terrorism, and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice. They denounced any use of terrorist proxies and emphasised the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks,” the joint statement said.
Pakistan-based radical cleric Hafiz Saeed’s Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, is currently lodged at Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed as well as Afghanistan-based Haqqani Network are proscribed terror entities under UNSC resolution 1267 concerning ISIL (Da’esh), al-Qaeda, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.
Saeed and JeM founder Masood Azhar are also listed as global terrorists under the 1267 Sanctions regime.
Meanwhile, Narendra Modi left for India after concluding his three day visit to the US during which the prime minister said he had productive bilateral and multilateral engagements and expressed confidence that India-US relationship will grow even stronger in the years to come.
In a tweet just before his departure for home, Modi said that he had productive bilateral and multilateral engagements over the last few days in the US.
“Over the last few days, have had productive bilateral and multilateral engagements, interaction with CEOs and the UN address. I am confident the India-USA relationship will grow even stronger in the years to come. Our rich people-to-people linkages are among our strongest assets,” he said on Twitter.
The Prime Minister also met top American CEOs of five companies and invited them to step up their investments in the country.
Official Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi termed Prime Minister Modi’s US visit as “landmark”. (PTI