Sushma Swaraj set to meet galaxy of leaders in NY

Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is in New-york to attend the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) meeting and interact with a galaxy of world leaders. Swaraj is scheduled to attend 20 to 30 bilateral and trilateral meetings with the head of various countries. She was received at the airport by the Indian ambassador to US, Navtej Sarna and India’s permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin.

She will kick start her diplomatic meetings with her US counterpart Rex Tillerson and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono respectively. Swaraj will also meet her Tunisian Counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui, and Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay. However, she will not meet Pakistani external affairs minister who will also be present. She will participate in a meeting on UN Reforms which will be hosted and chaired by US President Donald Trump. India has been very much vocal about the necessity of change in the structure of the United Nations. She is also scheduled to address the general assembly on 23rdof September.

The UNGA meets on the backdrop of Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and tension along the Korean peninsula as well. UN may try to pressure India to open its gates and provide refugee to the Rohingya Muslims.





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Brahumdagh Bugti: Spearheading the Baloch movement

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort on Independence Day, a new word caught the attention of mainstream India. While Pakistan has been criticizing India for spurring the Balochistan movement, no Indian Prime Minister has retaliated in any kind but refusing the claim, until Modi. He spoke of the human right violations, mass killings and disappearances in the western province of Balochistan. The troubled province, then found a voice in the world’s largest democracy.

Following the assertion by Modi, India  raised the issue of the Balochistan movement, for the first time ever in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). With a packed international calendar, and Sushma Swaraj addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in a couple of days, India’s new-found voice is expected to create some repercussions in its relationship with the neighboring Pakistan.

Leading Balochistan’s freedom movement is Brahumdagh Bugti, the President of Baloch Republican Party and the grandson of Akbar Bugti, the Baloch nationalist leader who fought for the separation of the Balochistan state.  He took over from the senior Bugti, and went into exile in Afghanistan and has reportedly survived two assassination attempts by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and has been under the constant surveillance of the intelligence agency of Pakistan.

He made the headlines this week for formally approaching India seeking asylum not only for himself but for the people of Balochistan as well. In an exclusive interview to a digital news website, Bagti said, “myself, my family and other people from Balochistan for whom we are requesting that Indian open its doors.”

While he is currently located in Switzerland, he has previously formally requested for political asylum in both 2011 and 2016. He has said that he feels like he has been put in an “golden cage” where his security has been assured but he has not been able to meet leaders from Europe due to lack of travel documents.

He also remarked that while a few other Balochistan leaders have been granted asylum in countries like France and Geneva, he has not been able to secure asylum and is dependent on India to do justice to his cause. Some media reports suggest that he has applied for an Indian passport in 2015, while a few others claim that he already held an Indian passport by 2010.

While Modi’s open support has helped the Balochistan movement and Bugti in particular by showing the world that they have the support of the world’s largest democracy, the bigger question is if this blantant show of support will come to bite India.


Sources: The News Minute, Times of India

PM Modi to host special G-4 summit on September 26th

Picture Courtesy: AP
Picture Courtesy: AP


India will host a special G-4 summit on September 26th, the first of its kind since 2004. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will entertain German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York before he leaves for the West Coast. The meeting comes in light of the United Nations’ decision on September 14th to initiate negotiations to formulate a text which will govern all further UN reforms, particularly expansion of the Security Council.

According to Asoke Mukerji, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, this summit “conveys its own message that the G-4 nations can play a role in galvanizing broad based support for the outcome of the negotiations which will start in November this year.” Adding that the agenda of the summit would be to “build” on the General Assembly’s decision to adopt a negotiation document, Mukerji seemed optimistic “as the Prime Minister has called for” concrete outcomes on the reforms by the end of the 70th UNGA session which will commence in September 2016.

Echoing Obama’s promise to Modi during the former’s India visit in January this year, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that while there were multiple models for UNSC reforms, India’s bid for a permanent seat would have “unwavering” support from the US.

The G-4 nations have come together to support each other’s demand for a seat in the UNSC multiple times in the past. While the summits have been chaired by the foreign ministers of the member countries in the past, the decision to elevate the delegations to heads of states was taken this year after a consultation between Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

Modi is currently in Ireland as a part of his six-day foreign trip which will end on September 29th. He is expected to make a statement on at UN Peacekeeping Summit convened by President Barack Obama in New York on September 28th.


Source: PTI