UNGA President pays 'solemn tribute' to Mahatma Gandhi upon arrival in India
Dennis Francis, the president of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), paid a 'solemn tribute' to the 'Father of the Nation' at his final resting place, Rajghat, in the national capital on Monday.
His commemoration was significant as several global dignitaries honoured the enduring legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.
"A solemn tribute to Bapu! @UN_PGA Dennis Francis laid a wreath at Rajghat and paid respects to Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma's timeless ideals hold relevance for entire humanity," the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal, posted from his X handle.
India's permanent representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj, was also present as the UNGA president laid floral tributes at the Mahatma's memorial.
In his role as the president of the UN General Assembly, Francis laid a wreath at the memorial, signifying the acknowledgement of the international community of the Mahatma's enduring impact on peace, non-violence and human rights.
On his arrival on Monday morning, Francis expressed his happiness amid the 'Pran Pratishtha' of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya, saying he was looking forward to discussing peace and progress of the country.
The UNGA President said, "Delighted to arrive in New Delhi on an auspicious day when the country is celebrating its 'Second Diwali'.
"Namaste, Bharat! Delighted to arrive in New Delhi on an auspicious day when the country is celebrating its 'Second Diwali'. Looking forward to fruitful discussions over the next few days on Peace, Progress, Prosperity and Sustainability!" the UNGA president posted from his official X handle.
Francis arrived in New Delhi on a five-day visit during which he would focus on advancing the India-UN ties.
The UNGA President was received at the airport by India's permanent representative to the world body, Kamboj.
He is visiting India at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. The UNGA chief will conclude his visit on Republic Day, January 26.
The theme of his presidency of the 78th UNGA is 'Rebuilding trust and reigniting solidarity'.
Over the course of his India visit, Francis will hold talks with EAM Jaishankar on key multilateral issues of mutual interest.
In New Delhi, he will also attend a round table on India's advancements in Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) while also delivering a public address at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on 'Multilateralism and Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability' on January 24, according to an official release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Francis will then travel to Jaipur and Mumbai. In Mumbai, he will pay floral tributes at the memorial in honour of the victims of the 26/11 terror attacks.
His engagements in Mumbai will include a visit to the National Stock Exchange and an address on New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), according to the MEA release.
On January 26, the concluding day of his visit, Francis will participate as a state guest at the Republic Day Parade in Maharashtra.
The UNGA President's visit to India presents a unique opportunity to strengthen ties with the UN in general and the General Assembly in particular, which is considered to be the most representative organ of the world body.
Discussions during his visit would revolve around India's call for reforms at the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to make it more equitable and representative with a view to enhancing the representation of developing countries.
The visit will also be an opportunity to enhance India's collaboration with the United Nations on Indian priorities as well as the global challenges being faced by the Global South, according to the official MEA release.