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Indian PM Modi touches on Afghanistan, pandemic in U.N. address

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Saturday. Pool photo by Eduardo Munoz/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- India Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched Saturday on the the situation in Afghanistan, and the COVID-19 pandemic, among other issues in his U.N. address.

It is critical to ensure that Afghanistan's territory is not used to spread terrorism, Modi said during the address to world leaders at the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

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"Today, the world is witnessing increased threat of regressive thinking and extremism," he said. "In this situation, it is necessary to make the world a site for science-based rational and progressive thinking."

Modi also indirectly criticized Pakistan when he said that "countries using terrorism as a political tool have to understand that it is an equally big threat to them."

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Modi also touched on other issues affecting India, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

"For the last one and a half years the world has been grappling with the worst pandemic it has seen in a hundred years," Modi said. "I pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the deadly corona[virus] pandemic, and I express my condolences to their families."

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He also referred to Aug. 15 of this year marking the 75th year of independence from British rule.

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"Our diversity is the identity of our strong democracy," he said. "It is a country that has dozens of languages, hundreds of dialects, different lifestyles and cuisines, this is the best example of a vibrant democracy.

"The strength of our democracy is demonstrated by the fact that a little boy who at one time used to help his father at his tea store--is today addressing the United Nations general assembly for the fourth time as prime minister of India," he added. "I am saying to you from my own experience, yes, democracy can deliver. Yes, democracy has delivered."

Modi also said sustainability is a priority for the nation to ensure clean and potable water.

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