'China, India key to making UN relevant to all people'

Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, United Nations (UN) General Assembly president-elect visits China. Reuters file photo

India and China, the most populous nations in the world, are key to making the United Nations relevant to everyone, President-elect of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces has said.

Garces visited the two countries this month as she prepares to assume the role of President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in September.

The 193-member UN body had in June overwhelmingly elected Garces as its next president, making her only the fourth woman to lead the General Assembly in its 73-year history.

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, veteran Indian diplomat and sister of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first woman to be elected President of the General Assembly in as early as 1953.

"Home to more than a third of the world's population, China and India are key to making the United Nations relevant to all people," Garces tweeted.

"The insights I gained during my visit to these countries will be invaluable as I prepare for the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly," Garces added.

In India, the President-elect met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, besides holding discussions with members of prominent think-tanks and civil society.

Garces said she had a "successful" meeting with Modi in New Delhi where the two leaders agreed on the importance of improving the efficiency of the UN.

"Successful meeting with the PM of India Narendra Modi on my arrival to Delhi. I shared my priorities. We agreed on the importance of implementing commitments and improving the efficiency of the UN," she had tweeted.

Garces also expressed gratitude for India's support to her office.

"We will continue working together," she added.

Garces shared her priorities for the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly and the two leaders discussed the need for a stronger UN action on major global challenges including terrorism, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

In her meeting with Swaraj, the top UN official discussed the revitalization of the UN, including reform of the Security Council, strengthening global counter terrorism legal framework and other global issues.

In China, she had met Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

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'China, India key to making UN relevant to all people'

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