General Assembly General Assembly

 

 Statement by Mr. Srinivas Prasad, Minister

at the

United Nations  High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace

5 September 2018

 

Mr.  President,

India, at the outset, extends its appreciation to the President of the General Assembly for convening this High Level Forum on Culture of Peace.   India remains fully supportive of the landmark GA Resolution 53/234 on the Declaration of the Programme of Action on Culture of Peace.  

We fully endorse the remarks of H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajcak during the High Level meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace in April 2018, that ‘peace is more than a ceasefire’ or an ‘absence of war’.   We believe that peace is the natural order of mankind and a Culture of Peace is the corner stone of any global order built on inclusive and tolerant societies. It is a habit of mind and behavior that needs to be inculcated from a young age and practiced actively.

In the long story of human civilization, the UN represents an attempt by national states to create a representative platform for dealing with issues of global concern.   Its work in these 70 years through its many agencies and initiatives has advanced the cause of sustaining a happy, peaceful and inclusive global order.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a developmental consensus in a future driven by climate change and possible conflicts due to the change, is only the logical and appropriate continuation of the UN’s multifaceted approach over the decades towards building peaceful and inclusive societies and sustaining a Culture of Peace.  

Mr. President,

As one of the oldest continuing civilizations of the world, one of India’s enduring principles has been ‘Vasudheva Kutumbakam’ or ‘The World is One Family’.  If the world is one family, a Culture of Peace is the framework for that one family.   I would like to only highlight this by drawing upon the words of one of the greatest warriors for peace and non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated next year.  Gandhiji said that “a non-violent revolution is not a programme of seizure of power. It is a programme of transformation of relationships”.  From the Vedic age in the distant past to the great teachers Mahavira and Buddha to Gandhiji, India’s message has always been about the need of a Culture of Peace.   It is due to this heritage of a Culture of Peace that has made India, home to the harmonious blending of different cultures and religions.  As the land of Buddhism and home to the second largest Muslim community in the world, we are deeply conscious and proud of this heritage and our commitment therefore, to a Culture of Peace is natural and automatic.

Mr. President,

A Culture of Peace is not just an abstract value or principle to be discussed and extolled in conferences, but needs to be actively built into global relationships between and among nation states.  It rests on good neighborliness and a respect for the territory and the governing systems and principles of other states. It is indeed ironic today that our neighbor Pakistan whose focus over the decades has been the undermining of India’s territorial integrity through the explicit use of terrorism as a state policy has chosen to use this platform to yet again claim Indian territory under the guise of a supposed concern for ‘justice and self-determination’ by quoting a report that not a single member state had asked for or has supported.    May I remind Pakistan that Jammu & Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India. As a democracy, India has always abided by the choices of the people and will not allow this freedom to be undermined by terrorism and extremism.  

To conclude, India reiterates its appreciation of the UN’s initiative of organizing this High Level Forum and commends Bangladesh for its continuing engagement with this important subject.

Thank you.