PM calls for early reform of UN Security Council

Manmohan Singh made a powerful call for early reform and expansion of the UN Security Council "to reflect contemporary reality".

United Nations: Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh on Saturday made a powerful call for early reform and
expansion of the UN Security Council "to reflect contemporary
reality" and asked nations not to allow the global economic
slowdown to trigger protectionism through various barriers.

Participating in the High Level Segment of the world body
after a gap of three years, Singh made an address to the
General Assembly in which he also made it clear that the fight
against terrorism cannot be selective and has to be fought on
all fronts.

After meetings of the G-4 countries including India,
Brazil, German and Japan pushing for reform of the UNSC in
which India wants to be a permanent member, the Prime Minister
said the world needed a stronger and more effective UN.

UNSC reform

"We need a United Nations that is sensitive to the
aspirations of everyone - rich or poor, big or small. For this
the United Nations and its principal organs, the General
Assembly and the Security Council, must be revitalised and

"The reform and expansion of the Security Council are
essential if it is to reflect contemporary reality. Such an
outcome will enhance the Council`s credibility and
effectiveness in dealing with global issues. Early reform of
the Security Council must be pursued with renewed vigour and
urgently enacted," Singh said in his 15-minute address.

Movement for democracy

In the midst of controversies raging over the issue of
"interventions" in the trouble spots of the Middle East, Singh
said the observance of the rule of law is as important in
international affairs as it is within countries.

"Societies cannot be reordered from outside through
military force. People in all countries have the right to
choose their own destiny and decide their own future," the
Prime Minister said.

The international community, he said, has a role to play
in assisting in the processes of transition and institution
building but the idea that prescriptions have to be imposed
from outside is fraught with danger.

"Actions taken under the authority of the United Nations
must respect the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and
independence of individual states," he said.

Threats to global economy

As a seasoned economist whose views on international
economy is much sought after in the global power corridors,
Singh touched on the current situation saying the "world
economy is in trouble".

"The shoots of recovery which were visible after the
economic and financial crisis of 2008 have yet to blossom. In
many respects the crisis has deepened even further."

Singh said the traditional engines of the global economy
such as the US, Europe and Japan, which are also the sources
of global economic and financial stability, are faced with
continued economic slowdown. Recessionary trends in these
countries were affecting confidence in world financial and
capital markets.

These developments, he said, are bound to have a negative
impact on developing countries which also have to bear the
additional burden of inflationary pressures.

"Declining global demand and availability of capital,
increasing barriers to free trade and mounting debt pose a
threat to the international monetary and financial system.
Questions are being asked about the efficacy of the Bretton
Woods institutions," he said.

The Prime Minister said countries should not allow the
global economic slowdown to become a trigger for building
walls around themselves through protectionism or erecting
barriers to movement of people, services and capital.

"Effective ways and means must be deployed to promote
coordination of macro-economic policies of major economies.
The reform of governance systems of international financial
institutions ought to be pursued with speed and efficiency,"
he said.

Singh said the development agenda must be brought firmly
back to the centre stage of the United Nations` priorities.

"We need a much more determined effort to ensure
balanced, inclusive and sustainable development for the
benefit of vast sections of humanity. Each of us can
contribute to this task but we can achieve far more if we act
in partnership," he said.

"It is vitally important that through our actions and
deeds we renew people`s faith in the charter and objectives of
the United Nations. I am confident we can do this through
statesmanship, foresight and collective efforts, India stands
ready to play its part in this noble endeavour," Singh said.

Crisis in Africa

"We have to pay particular attention to Africa. Africa`s
richest resources are not its minerals but its people. We have
to empower them and open the doors for them to human advances
in technology, education and skill development," he said.

Singh said the United Nations should lead efforts in the
area of food security. "We need more cooperation in
agricultural technologies, water conservation, land usage and
productivity and stability in commodity prices," he said.

Nuclear safety

Amid concerns over the safety
of atomic plants, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made it
clear that India will pursue nuclear energy after "full
satisfaction" about this aspect and is ready to work with IAEA
to enhance safety and security levels.

"Our plans for utilising nuclear power to meet our energy
needs hinge upon full satisfaction about the safety of nuclear
energy. We have undertaken a thorough review of the safety of
our nuclear plants," he told the gathering.

"We support international efforts under the aegis of the
International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance levels of safety
and security," the Prime Minister said.


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