India's indirect dig at China: ‘Be wary of vicious debt trap cycle’ | World News - Hindustan Times
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India's indirect dig at China during UNSC meet: ‘Be wary of vicious debt trap cycle’

PTI |
Nov 22, 2023 08:30 AM IST

India has been urging nations in the Indian Ocean region to address the development challenges as it warned them to be clear of the dangers of "hidden agendas".

In a veiled attack on China, India said that the international community should work on transparent and equitable financing and be vigilant towards the dangers of unsustainable financing which leads to a vicious cycle of debt traps.

The UNSC meeting was held under China's presidency.(File Photo)
The UNSC meeting was held under China's presidency.(File Photo)

“Peace is elusive and development a distant dream if resource crunch continues to exist. Hence, India in various fora, including in its current G20 presidency has worked towards reforms of International Financial Institutions,” Counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN R Madhu Sudan said Monday at the UN Security Council open debate on ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Promoting Sustaining Peace through Common Development’, held under China’s Presidency of the 15-nation UN body for the month of November.

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Madhu Sudan said that as the concept paper of the meeting suggests, “we should work on transparent and equitable financing and be vigilant with respect to the dangers of unsustainable financing which leads to the vicious cycle of debt traps.”

He further noted that similarly, peace is “elusive as in our lived experiences where the UN representing the international community struggled to restrain the vaccine apartheid during Covid or the rising inflation of food, fuel and fertilizers which unjustly affect the Global South. It is reflective enough that the voice of the Global South is lost and forgotten without representation.”

India has been urging countries in the Indian Ocean region to effectively address the development challenges as it warned them to be clear of the dangers of "hidden agendas" in unviable projects or unsustainable debt, in an apparent reference to China which is accused by the West of "debt trap" diplomacy.

Speaking at the 23rd Council of Ministers Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association in Colombo recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that it is important to maintain vigil against hidden agendas in unviable projects or in unsustainable debt.

The Hambantota port, which was funded by a Chinese loan, was leased to Beijing in a 99-year debt-for-equity swap in 2017 after Sri Lanka failed to pay off the debt.

India further underscored that a UN befitting the aspirations and needs of the 21st century is only possible through a sustained, reformed multilateralism, especially through the expansion of both categories of membership of the Security Council.

“Choosing peace, co-operation and multilateralism is essential for building our collective future free of wars, conflicts, terrorism, space race and the threats from new and emerging technologies amongst others,” Madhu Sudan said.

He added that while a comprehensive vision of international security must encompass the interdependence of the UN system's three pillars—peace and security, development, and human rights—it is important to remember that this does not imply that the Security Council should assume all these functions.

“Security is indeed multi-dimensional, but the Security Council's involvement in every aspect including those mandated to other UN bodies might not be advisable,” he said.

India told the Council that maintaining international peace and security is one of the key mandates of the UN Security Council, reiterating that maintaining peace is weighty, nuanced and multidimensional and is not just linked to “common development.”

“Our leaders met recently to assess global progress on the SDGs and concurred that urgent measures are necessary to reverse the concerning trend of faltering on these goals. My delegation reiterates that we do not lose focus by diluting or cherry picking, in name or substance, from Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development,” he said.

Global leaders met for the 2023 SDG Summit that took place in September during the high-level UN General Assembly session. The summit began a new phase of accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals with high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030.

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