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Visit of President of the United Nations General Assembly to India

H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), visited India from January 22-26, 2024. The visit was upon an official invitation from the Minister of External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar. His visit was of prime importance as he held meetings with important dignitaries and delivered addresses stressing the need to strengthen multilateral ties among nations at present.

Meeting with EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar

In his meeting with the EAM, Mr. Dennis Francis threw light on the long-standing partnership and commitment towards strengthened multilateral relations. According to the United Nations India, Dr. Jaishankar, on his part, “confirmed support for the summit of the future, which aims to deal with today’s challenges and future risks through global cooperation.”

Meeting of the President of the United Nations with Smt. Droupadi Murmu

During the meeting, President Murmu appreciated the initiatives that are being taken under the presidency of Mr. Dennis Francis. She also highlighted the importance of the current theme of the 78th UNGA, viz., “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity,” which is the urgent need of the hour. Furthermore, President Murmu added how the UNGA can contribute to the development of the global south, specifically in the least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing states (SIDS), and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). Mr. Dennis reiterated the promise of supporting women-led entrepreneurship and people from marginalised sections.

Meeting with Senior Members of Government

Along with EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar, Mr. Dennis also met with other government dignitaries. Mr. Dennis highlighted the rising importance of India in global development and sought its support during his presidency. He said: “The primary focus of my visit is to seek India’s continued support for my presidency’s priorities towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability at the United Nations General Assembly, but most importantly, to appreciate firsthand India’s transformative actions, which I have seen myself during my stay so far, and how that can be a benchmark for other countries. in the global South and beyond. India is already a key player both globally and at the United Nations. As the world’s largest democracy, where unity and diversity has endured for many years, India can relate very easily to principles of universality, which is the bedrock of the UN’s foundation for sovereign equality of States.”

Address of the President of the United Nations at ICWA

Mr. Dennis delivered the 47th Sapru House lecture at ICWA, New Delhi. The theme of the lecture was ‘Multilateralism for Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability.’ The PGA highlighted several key factors that play a role in strengthening multilateral ties between countries. He specified the role played by the UNGA in ensuring such stability: “Global dynamics are undermining the cohesion. we need to uphold international law, including the UN Charter – the backbone of our multilateral system. To change course, while we must recognize these dynamics as being essentially centrifugal in character, our collective response must instead treat them as unifying forces. In the General Assembly, which is often referred to as the Parliament of Humanity, we are working to match our ambition with action at the scale and pace needed to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people and communities across the globe.”

Address of the President of the United Nations at ORF

Mr. Dennis held a panel discussion with the permanent representative of India to UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj and the President of the Observer Research Foundation, Samir Saran. The theme of the meeting was ‘New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism’. In his address, Mr. Dennis focused on how India can intervene in improving multilateral ties. According to him, “India is a country on the move, ready to reach the skies and with deep roots in its ancient civilization. As a global leader, India demonstrates the vision and capacity to deliver world-class development. The type of development that the United Nations intends to deliver to the Global South.”

Participation in Roundtable Discussions

The President of the United Nations, Mr. Dennis participated in two crucial roundtable discussions. The first was titled ‘The Promise of Digital Public Infrastructure for the Achievement of SDGs’, where Mr. Dennis praised the Digital Public Goods Alliance and the G20’s new Framework for Systems of Digital Public Infrastructure as examples of digital cooperation. The second was a youth roundtable, where he stressed the important role played by youth in shaping the future.

H.E. Dennis Francis belongs to the diplomatic service of Trinidad and Tobago. His visit to India was not only symbolic of the importance given by the United Nations to India’s political value. It was also indicative of the reverence given to India’s history and traditions. During these four days, Mr. Dennis paid visits to several key monuments in India like City Palace, Jaipur, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, and Amber Fort, Jaipur. He visited the 26/11 memorial in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and paid his obeisance. The President of the United Nations also participated in the 75th Republic Day celebrations in Mumbai, Maharashtra.