PM Lee honours Gandhi’s legacy at UN event
Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence is still 'sage advice' today: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met several world leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, discussing ways for Singapore to deepen cooperation in the areas of trade and investment with countries as distant as Panama and Uganda.
PM Lee also paid tribute to India's independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, honouring the late freedom fighter's legacy of non-violent resistance and philosophy of individual equality at an event marking the 150th anniversary of his birth on Oct 2.
After Gandhi died in 1948 and was cremated, Singapore received part of his ashes, which were scattered at sea 3.2km from the southern tip of Singapore.
Singapore honours Gandhi's legacy, said PM Lee, citing as an example the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at the Race Course Lane headquarters of the Hindi Society.
"But beyond these physical traces, Gandhi's ideas and ideals have resonated and endured," said PM Lee, at the commemorative forum hosted by India.
He said the national hero's philosophy of non-violence remains sage advice today, in a world where differences are more easily amplified and people take offence more readily.
PM Lee said: "If we take Gandhi's message to heart, then we must try our best to resolve differences calmly and peacefully, appreciating the views of the other side, and without inflaming passions or hardening attitudes.
"In so doing, we will build mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for one another."
Gandhi also believed in the intrinsic equality of every person, a fundamental ideal which Singapore upholds, said the Prime Minister.
Not only did Singapore become independent because it wanted to be a country where everyone was treated equally regardless of race, language or religion, but it also continues to work hard to strengthen its social cohesion today, he added.
The UN General Assembly's general debate - the highlight of the week-long global summit, where world leaders gather to give speeches and discuss global issues - began on Tuesday.
On its sidelines, PM Lee met Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, who is also the incoming president of the European Council.
Both leaders reaffirmed the excellent state of relations between their two countries and explored ways to deepen their economic ties, said the Prime Minister's Office in a statement.
PM Lee also met Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and President Laurentino Cortizo of Panama.
PM Lee invited Mr Cortizo to visit Singapore soon.