Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday called for solidarity among developing countries to address the challenges associated with globalisation.
At the 13th annual meeting of the member countries of the Group of 77, the largest developing countries coalition in the United Nations, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Mukherjee said that while globalisation has reinforced interdependence among countries, making the process fair and equitable continues to remain a major challenge.
The minister said that current deadlock across all areas of negotiations under the Doha Round threatens to jeopardise the development prospects of developing countries and is a matter of serious concern for them.
"If globalisation is inevitable, multilateralism has to be its life-sustaining mechanism. Solidarity among developing countries would be crucial in addressing the challenges associated with globalisation," Mukherjee said.
The defence minister, who is leading a 12-member delegation to the UNGA, congratulated Pakistan, which will take over from South Africa at the end of this year as the chairman of the G-77 for 2007 following its election on Friday.
"We are confident that Pakistan will effectively pursue the interests of the Group of 77 while protecting the long-standing positions of the group on issues of vital interest to developing countries," he said. Pakistan has chaired the group twice before.
Stating New Delhi's position, Mukherjee said that India believes that developing countries must have the policy space to determine their development plans and priorities based on their individual situations.
He felt that more intense cooperation at the international level, along with increased flow of resources, enhanced market access and debt relief, is an absolute imperative.
Mukherjee said the suspension of Doha round of trade negotiations has been disappointing for countries like India, considering the hopes that were raised after the Hong Kong Ministerial.
"It is important that resumption of negotiations carry forward the progress made, that precise, effective and operational special and differential treatment for developing countries must be an integral to all aspects of the outcome of the negotiations and the outcome should deliver on the developmental imperatives embodied in the Doha Work Program," Mukherjee said.
Noting the extremely important role of science and technology for development, the defense minister said the revolution in information and communication technologies offers developing countries the tool to face the challenges of globalisation.
Mukherjee, however, described it as ironic that the shrinking of the world due to improvement in technology and communications should be accompanied by evolution of controls that restrict movement for the peoples of the developing world.
Intellectual property rights regimes, he said, are also often used as tools to restrict control and deny technologies rather than facilitate their transfer to developing countries.
"It is imperative that development dimensions are integrated into such regimes as quickly as possible. The international community also needs to find pragmatic ways to promote research and development in developing countries," he said.
He said a comprehensive reform of international financial architecture is needed and that the development agenda of the United Nations needs to be an inclusive one, going beyond the Millennium Development Goals and encompassing the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits.
"India is willing to share its expertise, including in frontier areas of science and technology, and is indeed doing so already with several partner countries. We are unwavering in our support for greater South-South cooperation and the need to continue to enhance our cooperation with our partners in developing countries," Mukherjee said.