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Sushma Swaraj, Shashi Tharoor trade barbs over Hindi

12 January 2018

To allow for the United Nations to make Hindi an official language could cost about 40 crore rupees, or about OMR2.5 million per annum.

He said Hindi was an official language and not a national language and there was no need to make it an official language at the UN.

Swaraj said India was "attempting to get the support of countries like Fiji, Mauritius, Surinam", where there are non-resident Indians. "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, adding that despite this, the efforts are on.

Tharoor, the former Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations, questioned the need to push for Hindi which is not even India's national language.

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"For us to be spending government resources, for seeking to promote Hindi in this objective raises an important question as to why do we need to make it an official language?" asks Tharoor. The external minister said that the government is ready to pay "even Rs 400 crore if required" when a BJP member said that India has to pay Rs 40 crore as the cost for making Hindi one of the languages in the UN.

Sushma Swaraj, claimed that Tharoor was being ignorant, telling him that if he thinks that Hindi language is only spoken in India, then he is being ignorant about the reach of the language.

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

"The question is what objective is being served by this", he added. He stated that there is nothing wrong with taking pride in the Hind language, but it would be wrong to impose on Minister who don't speak Hindi.

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In response, Sushma said, "I am proud of all Indian languages". Seeking to promote Hindi raises an important question.

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.

"The pre-printed portion of the passport is already in Hindi and English languages".

The external affairs minister added that "A World Hindi Secretariat has also been set up in Mauritius in February 2008 to promote Hindi as an worldwide language".

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Sushma Swaraj, Shashi Tharoor trade barbs over Hindi