Modi’s counter-Pakistan strategy at UNGA: Focus on development, not Kashmir

It’s the perfect snub, and one that is being choreographed with a lot of rigour and panache. In a stinging repudiation of Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession and paranoia, India has underlined that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated speech at the UN General Assembly next week will focus on showcasing India’s vision of its global role, rather than sparring with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to New York to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale clarified that PM Modi’s address to the UNGA on September 27 will not focus on Kashmir, but on India’s role in shaping the global agenda on issues such as climate change and sustainable development.

India will be focusing on what we are doing in areas of peace and security, climate change and sustainable development, he said.

“Our Prime Minister will focus on what the United Nations General Assembly’s high level segment is meant to focus which is, as an important economy, as an important country, as a responsible member of the United Nations Prime Minister will flag what we are doing for development, for security, for peace and our expectations and aspirations of other countries,” said Mr Gokhale.

The preview provided by Mr Gokhale into PM Modi’s UNGA speech suggests that India has decided not to fall for Pakistan’s bait, but to present India as a responsible global power with its unique perspective on a range of cross-cutting issues.

Compared to PM’s big-picture speech on India’s global role, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will focus almost exclusively on Kashmir in a desperate attempt to divert the world’s attention from Pakistan’s role in fomenting cross-border terror.

This will be PM Modi’s second address to the UNGA, and his first visit to the US after winning a second term in the May 2019 elections.

In his longest visit to the US, PM Modi will spend two days in Texas and five days in New York – a week that will be packed with back-to-back diplomatic engagements spanning leaders of countries, big and small. Mr Modi will touch down in New York on September 22 after his trademark address to the over 50,000-strong crowd of Indian Americans at the “Howdy Modi” event in Houston. In a tribute to the rising stature of the 4-million strong Indian community, US President Donald Trump will also join PM Modi for the Indian diaspora connect in Texas. The two leaders are expected to meet in New York for bilateral talks, which are expected to further reinforce the upward trajectory in India-US relations and could lead to resolution of long-standing trade issues.

Besides meeting Mr Trump, Mr Modi is expected to meet at least 20 world leaders for bilateral meetings and many more in plurilateral formats.



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Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network ( and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.