India’s Modi targets neighbors at UN, but not by name

NEW YORK (AP) – Indian chief Minister Narendra Modi didn’t directly mention Pakistan or China in his Saturday speech to the United Nations General Assembly, but the targets of his address were clear.

He called upon the international community to help the women, children and minorities of Afghanistan and said that it was imperative the country not be used as a base from which to spread terror.

“We also need to be alert and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there, and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests,” he said in an apparent reference to Pakistan, neighbor to Afghanistan and India.

Modi also highlighted what he called the need to protect oceans from “the race for expansion and exclusion.” India and China have long competed for influence in the Indian Ocean.

On the heels of groups of coronavirus surges that have ravaged India, Modi made no mention of his own country’s death toll. But he reaffirmed last week’s announcement that India would restart exporting vaccines next month.

“Deeply conscious of its responsibility towards mankind, India has resumed the time of action of providing vaccines to those who need it in the world,” Modi said, also inviting vaccine manufacturers to come to India.

Modi said it was incumbent on the United Nations itself to strengthen its own effectiveness and raise its credibility.

“Today, all kinds of questions have been raised about the U.N.,” he said. “We have seen such questions being raised related to the climate crisis. And we also saw that during COVID, the proxy war going on in many parts of the world, terrorism, and the recent Afghan crisis have further highlighted the seriousness of these questions.”

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