Sushma Swaraj,Shashi Tharoor spar over making Hindi official language at United Nations

Sushma Swaraj,Shashi Tharoor spar over making Hindi official language at United Nations

"Their Passports and phones were taken and they were held captive in Mombasa", External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj posted on Twitter, shortly before leaving for a tour to Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. "I understand the Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister can speak in Hindi, but what if a future External Affairs Minister comes from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, who couldn't speak in the language?" "All aspects of bilateral relations with Thailand will be discussed with particular focus on political, defence and economic ties and on further enhancing India's engagement with ASEAN countries", a Ministry of External Affairs official said.

Swaraj then countered Tharoor that Hindi is the official language of Fiji and is also widely spoken in Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and many other countries.

In fact, Swaraj called Tharoor "ignorant" for raising questions over promoting Hindi at the hallowed portals of the UN.

Therefore, according to the UN rules, support of two-third member-countries (129 nations) is required out of the total 193 member-nations, Ms Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

However, she said United Nations rules do not allow Hindi to be made an official language at the world body. "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.

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.

She said that if the rules so permitted, the Indian government is ready to bear the entire expense.

During the winter session of Parliament in 2016, Ms. Swaraj stated in a written reply that the government was making every effort to accord official language status to Hindi in the United Nations. Why do we need an official language in the UN? She added, money would, however, not serve the goal.

Several members of the treasury benches protested after Tharoor finished his statement.

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. "A Gujarat High Court ruling says that it is not the official language".

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