Reflecting the diversity of India’s democracy, members of parliament from across the political spectrum and the nation are representing India at the General Assembly. India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin described their participation in the Indian delegation to the Assembly as “a long tradition that has helped in fostering better understanding of multilateralism among parliamentary decision makers.”
“Also, it reflects that positions India takes are broad based and are take into account the diversity of our polity,” he added.
About his experience with the Indian delegation at the UN, Prem Das Rai of the Sikkim Democratic Front said that it would “help us to engage more knowledgeably in domestic discussions in India on global issues and foreign policy.”
The bulk of the work of the Assembly takes place in its six committees that sit simultaneously and deal with issues ranging from terrorism and disarmament to development and protection of children.
The MPs fanned out to the committees, where they presented India’s stands on issues, while also getting a crash course on how international diplomacy plays out.
“Sitting in on the (committee) meetings we see how different issues matter to different countries and how they approach them and also see India’s own positions and contribution to multilateralism,” Rai said
Speaking at one of the Assembly committees last week, he decried “narrow national interests” derailing efforts for an international legal framework against terrorism.
Sharad Tripathi (Bharatiya Janata Party; UP) spoke before another committee about how international cooperation can make cyberspace safe for children and open new opportunities for them.
At other committees, Arvind Ganpat Sawant (Shiv Sena; Maharashtra) presented India’s efforts to manage rapid industrialisation, while Sushmita Dev (Congress; Assam) spoke about India’s efforts to empower women and said that an example of it at the UN was the deploymentAof the first police unit made up entirely of women in peacekeeping operations.
N. K. Premachandran (Revolutionary Socialist Party; Kerala), said that India’s robust commitment to sustainable development at home also translated internationally to several programmes likeA the India-UN Development Partnership Fund to which the nation has committed $150 million for helping the least developed countries and the small island developing countries.
Those five MPs, who were here last week, met Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa on Friday.
The second group that will be joining the delegation this week comprises Vishnu Dayal Ram (BJP; Jharkhand), Sukhendu Shekhar Ray (Trinamool Congress; West Bengal); Narendra Damodar Jadhav (Nominated); Kanimozhi Aravinthan (DMK; Tamil Nadu), A. P. Jithender Reddy (Telengana Rashtra Samithi; Telengana) and Naresh Gujral (Shiromani Akali Dal; Punjab)