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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

UN would consider name change to ‘Bharat’ if request is received: Spokesperson

United Nations, Sep 6 (IANS) If a request is made to formally change the name of ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’, the United Nations would consider it, a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday — and, going by a recent precedent, it would probably take just a letter from External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Asked by a Chinese media reporter what would be the process to change the name if India were to make a request similar to Turkey’s, which changed its name to Turkiye, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said, “In the case of Turkiye, we responded to a formal request delivered to us by the government. Obviously, if we get requests like that [from India for changing its name], we will consider them as well.”

Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan changed its name internationally to conform to the Turkish language name last year and just a letter from Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogalu to Guterres made the new nomenclature formal at the UN.

Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at that time that as soon the letter from Cavusogalu asking for a name change was received on June 1 last year, it went into effect.

India’s Constitution also refers to the country as Bharat.

Describing the nation, the Constitution says, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

A dinner invitation sent to the leaders attending the G20 Summit from President Droupadi Murmu with her title “President of Bharat” in English has stirred speculation that the name India is going to be abandoned.

It has become a politically fraught issue after the opposition coalition named itself the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance with ‘INDIA’ as its acronym ahead of next year’s election campaign.

The ruling BJP uses ‘Bharatiya’ in its name, while also using the English word ‘Party’. The opposition Congress has styled itself the Indian National Congress from the time it was formed in 1885, becoming the driver of the Independence movement.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed at @arulouis)

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