NEW DELHI: The politics surrounding the effectiveness or otherwise of UN agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the current pandemic broadly reflects superpower rivalries, says Vijay Nambiar, an Indian Foreign Service officer who later served as aide to Ban Ki Moon, former UN secretary general. Nambiar was on StratNews Global’s Talking Point programme with Nitin Gokhale and Surya Gangadharan. He acknowledges that some of the criticism directed at WHO chief Tedor Ghebreyesus is justified but believes that the West would have gone easy on him if he had been appointed to that office with their support. Chinese backing was his undoing. That the UN Security Council has not been able to discuss a matter which has ravaged the world underscores its weakness, and exposes the hypocrisy of major powers. He says reform is necessary but would not hazard a guess on whether and how it could happen. In his view, what the world today is looking for is leadership, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s actions with respect to dealing with the pandemic in India and his outreach through the G20 and SAARC, suggest a new leadership is evolving.
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