The 6 official languages of the United Nations and their history

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here on Thursday on the first leg of a three-nation tour that will also take her to Indonesia and Singapore. "As far as glory of the language is concerned, the External Affairs Ministry never had so much work done in Hindi as now", she said.

Therefore, according to the UN rules, support of two-third member-countries (129 nations) is required out of the total 193 member-nations, Ms Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

"It is not hard to get the support of two-third member-nations". Also, all member nations will have to bear the cost of making Hindi one of the official language of the UN.

After Swaraj asserted that the government was willing to go to any lengths to get Hindi the status of official language in the UN, Tharoor questioned the government's need to push a language that was spoken by the people of only one country. He demanded to know why we needed an official language at the United Nations at all.

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Ms. Swaraj promptly responded that Hindi was not only spoken in India, but in countries such as Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana, as well as by NRIs living in the United States.

A BJP MP pointed out that to make Hindi the national language the government has to bear an expense of Rs 40 crore. However, she added that spending money would not serve the goal. If, indeed, we have a Prime Minister or a foreign minister who prefers to speak Hindi, they can do so and we can pay for that speech to be translated. "So for us to be spending government resources in seeking to promote Hindi in this manner raises an important question", he said. "Why should we put our future foreign ministers and Prime Ministers who may be from Tamil Nadu or West Bengal in a position where they are condemned to be speaking a language for which we are paying?" he asked.

Currently, there are 22 scheduled languages in India, and a large number of people speak in languages other than Hindi.

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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