India’s Modi takes aim at Pakistan and China in UNGA address

Taliban takeover of Afghanistan meant countries could advance their ‘selfish interests’ there

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took aim at Pakistan and China in his address to the UN on Saturday, warning against countries taking advantage of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr Modi urged world powers to help Afghanistan’s women, children and minorities.

He also said it was vital that the country does not once again become a haven for terrorist groups, as it did when the Taliban were previously in power between 1996 and 2001.

“We also need to be alert and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there, and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests,” he said, in an apparent criticism of rival and neighbour Pakistan.

The Indian leader also highlighted what he called the need to protect oceans from “the race for expansion and exclusion”, in what was understood to be a reference to competition between India and China in the Indian Ocean.

Mr Modi's address came after India upbraided Pakistan both in Washington and at the UN, where the rivals clashed over Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech late on Friday that accused the Indian government of orchestrating a “reign of terror” on Muslims.

Mr Modi raised concerns about Pakistan during talks with US President Joe Biden and at a broader four-way summit with the leaders of Australia and Japan, according to Indian officials.

The other leaders agreed with Mr Modi's concerns, said the Indian officials.

“There was a clear sense that a more careful look and a more careful examination and monitoring of Pakistan's role in Afghanistan – Pakistan's role on the issue of terrorism – had to be kept,” Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

Updated: September 26th 2021, 8:32 AM