India joins UN in observing International Mandela Day

United Nations, PTI | Updated : 19 July 2013, 03:53 PM

India joined other UN member states in celebrating the 95th birthday of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wishing the South African leader a speedy recovery.

"On the occasion of the Nelson Mandela International Day, I compliment all member states of the United Nations for celebrating the values that Nelson Mandela has dedicated his life to," Singh said in a message.

"These values of peace, pluralism, justice, equality and dignity are also embodied in the United Nations Charter. In proclaiming 18 July as the Nelson Mandela International Day, the United Nations paid tribute to a great citizen of the world," he said.

Singh's message was read out by India's permanent representative to UN Asoke Kumar Mukerji during a special meeting of the General Assembly here to celebrate Mandela Day on Thursday.

The Prime Minister wished speedy recovery to Mandela, who is admitted in a hospital since June 8 following a lung infection.

"Today, we stand with our African brothers and sisters in wishing Mandela a speedy recovery and good health," he said.

Singh also invoked Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion as he said the day holds special significance for India.

"This day also holds special significance for India. The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who led the struggle for our independence, honed his skills as a young lawyer in Nelson Mandela's homeland," he said.

"Bound by history, more than a billion Indian hearts rejoice and take pride in the life and mission of Nelson Mandela, which stand for ideals that are enduring and universal in their appeal and relevance.

"The outpouring of love and the countless prayers that we have seen in recent days for Mandela only prove that there is something very deep and abiding in the human spirit that binds us across borders," Singh said.

India was the first country invited to speak at the special event. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the event, while the key note address was delivered by former US President Bill Clinton.

First Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 03:51 PM
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