When Swaraj, Tharoor trade barbs over making Hindi official language at UN

When Swaraj, Tharoor trade barbs over making Hindi official language at UN

"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.

"The United Nations has a specific procedure for a language to be recognised as an official language of the UN".

Shashi Tharoor, against this move, asked why Hindi had to be pushed as the official language when it was not even the national language of India. Sushma said such recognition required a two-thirds majority vote among the UN's 193 member-countries and for them to share the expenditure. "But when the issue of bearing the expenses comes, many small nations become hesitant which has led to a big hurdle in making Hindi an official language of the UN", she said.

"For us to be spending government resources, for seeking to promote Hindi in this goal raises an important question as to why do we need to make it an official language?" asks Tharoor. "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", he said.

To that, the senior minister said: "Not just Rs 40 crore, the government is ready to spend Rs 400 crore on it".

A BJP MP pointed out that to make Hindi the national language the government has to bear an expense of Rs 40 crore.


Also, spending taxpayers' money on something so trivial is not acceptable.

"The question is what goal is being served by this".

"If indeed we have a Prime Minister or Foreign Minister who prefers to speak Hindi, they can do so and we can pay to get that speech to be translated", he explained.

"The government has to defend its position".

It said the Joint Commission meeting and other engagements of Sushma Swaraj would enable the two countries to chart out the course of partnership during the year 2018. "A Gujarat High Court ruling says that it is not the official language". "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".

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