By CECILIA OLOGUNAGBA
NEW YORK- UN Secretary-General António Guterres has paid tribute to the victims of the 2008 terrorist attacks that took place at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, India.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Guterres on Wednesday began his official visit to India by visiting the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
The 2008 Mumbai terror attacks were a series of attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist terrorist organisation from Pakistan, carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.
The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and lasted until Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008.
A total of 175 people died, including nine attackers.
More than 300 people were wounded during the attacks which included bombings, shootings, hostage -taking, mass murder, and siege.
Weapons used during the attacks included AK-47 rifles, RDX, improvised explosive devices, and grenades.
Guterres afterwards went to the Indian Institute of Technology in the country’s business capital.
At the institute, the UN chief delivered a lecture hailing the partnership between India and the UN in celebration of the country’s 75th anniversary.
He said India’s upcoming presidency of the G20 – the group of major industrialised nations – would be an important opportunity to bring the values and vision of the developing world to the table of the global economy and highlight the Global South overall.
The UN chief also counted on India’s support in mobilisng G20 countries around debt relief.
The secretary-general noted that India is the biggest provider of military and police personnel to UN missions, including the first all-women UN police contingent to be posted to a UN peacekeeping mission.
He said that more than 200,000 Indian men and women had served in 49 peacekeeping missions, since they began in 1948.
The secretary-general also pointed out that as the home of one-sixth of humanity and the world’s largest generation of young people, India can “make or break” the 2030 Agenda.
‘India’s recent development journey is characterised by high impact programmes delivered at scale.
“This includes the world’s largest food-based social protection scheme and the massive expansion of access to clean water and sanitation services,” he said.
The UN chief acknowledged India’s engagement in deep reform of the global financial architecture, which currently favours the richest countries at the expense of the rest.
He also urged India to become a global superpower in renewables technology, and be a manufacturing hub to fuel the revolution around the world.
He said that India’s voice on the global stage could only gain in authority and credibility from a strong commitment to inclusivity and respect for human rights at home.
The UN chief plans to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. He is expected to also visit a model project site, which has recently been declared India’s first solar-powered village.
After leaving India he will travel to Vietnam, where he will participate in a ceremony to commemorate the country’s 45th anniversary as a UN member state. (NAN)