‘1 extra minute for every 100 million Indians’

United Nations, Sep 26 (IANS) A large population has its advantage: Prime Minister Narendra Modi got an extra minute for each of about 100 million Indians.

With his characteristic campaign style oratory in Hindi, Modi exceeded the allotted ten minutes by 13 minutes for his speech at the opening session of the UN Summit on Friday.

Uganda President Yoweri Musuveni, the summit co-chairman who was presiding when Modi spoke, made light of it saying that although Modi exceeded his allotted time by 13 minutes, there were 1.2 billion Indians and for every 100 million Indians Modi was given an extra minute.

Musuveni’s foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, was the president of the last General Assembly and he had successfully pushed through the text for Security Council reform negotiations that India backed. It overcame a major hurdle to meaningful reform negotiations.

Musuveni’s lighthearted remark reflected a serious issue behind India’s push for Council reforms. Although India has about one-sixth of the world’s population, it is not a member of the Security Council and in the General Assembly, the only place it has a vote, its ballot is equal to that of small nations, some of which have population of about 100,000.

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