In the ongoing debate over whether ‘India’ should officially become ‘Bharat,’ the United Nations (UN) has expressed its stance. A UN spokesperson stated on Wednesday that if a formal request is made to change the name from ‘India’ to ‘Bharat,’ the UN would duly consider it. Such a request would likely require involvement from India’s Foreign Minister, S. Jaishankar, among others.
This statement came in response to a query from a Chinese media reporter regarding the process of renaming if India were to make a request similar to Turkey’s. Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adopted its internationally recognized name ‘Turkiye’ last year. This change was formalized through a letter sent by Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The UN’s Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, clarified that they responded to Turkey’s formal request promptly. He added that if a similar request were to be made by India, the UN would consider it likewise.
It’s worth noting that the Indian Constitution refers to the country as both ‘India’ and ‘Bharat.’ In the constitutional text, it specifies, “India, that is, Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
The recent attention on this name change issue escalated when President Draupadi Murmu extended a dinner invitation at the G-20 summit using the title “President of India” in English. This has sparked speculation about a potential shift away from the name ‘India.’ Furthermore, the opposition alliance has renamed itself as ‘India,’ or the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance, ahead of the upcoming election campaign, adding a layer of political complexity to the matter.
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) employs ‘Bharatiya’ in its name alongside the English word ‘party,’ the opposition Congress has historically used ‘Indian National Congress (INC)’ since its formation in 1885. This issue has triggered debates and discussions in India’s political landscape, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urge his cabinet colleagues to steer clear of political controversies surrounding the ‘Bharat’ matter.