Excerpts from India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar’s opening remarks at the RIC trilateral foreign ministers’ video conference on June 23, 2020
We welcome this special RIC meeting of Foreign Ministers to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second World War, as well as the foundation of the United Nations.
The victory over Nazism and Fascism was achieved through sacrifices across many theatres by many countries. India made a significant contribution, with 2.3 million of its citizens under arms and 14 million more participating in war production. Indian blood was shed at the battlefields of the world, from Tobruk, El Alamein and Montecassino, to Singapore, Kohima and Borneo. We helped keep key supply lines open to both your countries, one through the Persian corridor and the other over the Himalayan hump. If Indian personnel were conferred the Order of the Red Star, the medical mission led by Dr.Kotnis was a legend in China. So tomorrow, when our military contingent marches through the Red Square, it would be an affirmation of the difference that we made.
When the victors met to fashion the ensuing global order, the political circumstances of that era did not give India due recognition. This historical injustice has stood uncorrected for the last 75 years, even as the world has changed. Therefore, on this momentous occasion, it is important for the world to realize both the contribution that India made and the need to rectify the past.
But beyond history, international affairs must also come to terms with contemporary reality. The United Nations began with 50 members; today it has 193. Surely, its decision making cannot continue to be in denial of this fact. We, the RIC countries, have been active participants in shaping the global agenda. It is India’s hope that we will also now converge on the value of reformed multilateralism.
This Special Meeting reiterates our belief in the time-tested principles of international relations.But the challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their practice. The leading voices of the world must be exemplars in every way. Respecting international law, recognizing the legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good are the only way of building a durable world order.