Sushma Swaraj to Begin 5-day Visit To ASEAN Countries


A reply by the Minister for External Affairs during question hour in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday caused Opposition member Shashi Tharoor to ask what is the objective of making Hindi an official language in the United Nations. "In this regard, one significant achievement has been the United Nations broadcasting its programmes on the U.N. Radio website in Hindi language also", she had replied.

He said Hindi was an official language and not a national language and there was no need to make it an official language at the UN. As per the UN rules, support of two-third member countries (129 nations) is vital out of the total 193 member nations, the minister said in Lower House during Question Hour. "When we get that kind of support and the economically weaker countries are also ready to bear the financial burden, it will become an official language", she added.

After Swaraj asserted that the government was willing to go to any lengths to get Hindi the status of official language in the UN, Tharoor questioned the government's need to push a language that was spoken by the people of only one country.

Swaraj said the government would readily spend even Rs 400 crore on this, when pointed out the process of making Hindi an official language would incur an expenditure of Rs 40 crores. However, she added that spending money would not serve the goal. All member nations have to bear the expenses of making Hindi an official UN language, she said. Seeking to promote Hindi raises an important question.

Meanwhile, Tharoor noted, "If someone from Tamil Nadu or from West Bengal becomes the Prime Minister, why should we force him to speak in Hindi at the United Nations?" he said.

"The government has to defend its position".

Arabic does not have more speakers than Hindi, but Arabic is spoken by 22 countries, whereas Hindi is only used as an official language by one country - us. In America, NRIs speak Hindi even today.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that the 10 girls had been flown back to their respective countries soon after their rescue and also thanked the Kenyan Police for its cooperation in the operation. "All the.countries where there have been Indian origin rulers - Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ghana - there are Indian-origin Hindi-speaking people too".