|You are here: Rediff Home » India » News » PTI|
Addressing the 60th session of the UN General Assembly attended by over 160 heads of state and government, the prime minister regretted that the United Nations suffered from a "democracy deficit," saying unless it became more representative of the contemporary world, its ability to deliver on Millennium Development Goals would continue to be limited.
"We shall never succumb to or compromise with terror, in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] or elsewhere," Dr Singh said in his three-page address. He emphasised that democratic governance both within nations and in the global institutions would constitute a powerful weapon in meeting the global scourge of terrorism.
"We must not yield any space to terrorism. We must firmly reject any notion that there is any cause that justifies it. No cause could ever justify the indiscriminate killing of innocent men, women and children."
The prime minister pointed out that for several years, India has faced cross-border terrorism directed against its unity and territorial integrity.
Dr Singh's remarks came hours after the UN speech by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] who said there was need to 'understand and address the motives behind terrorist acts. These may not justify terrorism; but they explain it.'
The Pakistan president also said it was essential to find a 'just solution' to the Kashmir problem 'acceptable to Pakistan, India and above all the people of Kashmir.' He wanted implementation of the UN resolutions including that of the Security Council on Kashmir.
The Prime Minister in New York
Observing that India has a "special regard" for the UN, Dr Singh likened it to the ancient Indian concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or 'the whole world is one family.' He reminded world leaders that it was this idea of a shared destiny which encouraged the UN, five years ago, to adopt the Millennium Development Goals.
"Five years later, we find that the international community is generous in setting goals, but parsimonious in pursuing them," he said. Contending that management of global interdependence required strong international institutions and a rule-based multilateral system, the prime minister said the reforms must include the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.
Dr Singh spoke bluntly about the shortcomings in the UN system as also its inability to evolve itself to contemporary ground realities. "Unfortunately, the UN suffers from a democracy deficit. Its structure and decision-making process reflect the world of 1945, not of 2005," he regretted. He also made it clear that unless the UN "becomes an organisation more representative of the contemporary world and more relevant to our concerns and aspirations, its ability to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, indeed on its charter obligations, will continue to be limited."
The prime minister, who touched on a number of contemporary challenges like HIV/AIDS, environmental depredation and terrorism targetting nations across the world, said there has been growing recognition that these demanded a "global response".
At the same time, there was a new sense of hope and optimism, he said, adding that the world community welcomed the fact that advances in science and technology had made it possible as never before in human history to mount a frontal attack on global poverty, ignorance and disease.
Highlighting the need for "greater efforts" to mobilise the resources necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goals, he said "this would be a wise investment for the future. Failure will only make our task in the future much more difficult and much more costly".
The prime minister said the international community recognised that the UN was in need of urgent and comprehensive reforms.
Maintaining that there was need to ensure that multilateral rules governing the flow of goods, services and capital took advantage of the needs of developing countries, the prime minister said "the world awaits a 'new deal' that can spur development and create jobs at the global scale."
He said this must address the challenge of eradicating mass poverty and pandemics like HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. "We need collective thinking and coordinated action to deal with the challenge of ensuring energy security, even while we address the consequences of climate change.
"We must turn the global outpouring of sympathy and mobilisation of resources in response to national disasters like the Asian tsunami or the destructive hurricane in the US into a more sustained effort to deal with apprarently less dramatic, but in the long run, more damaging crises," he said.
Dr Singh sought renewal of effort to secure the world against nuclear proliferation and to promote global nuclear disarmament. "Failure to address the global challenges in a timely fashion can only turn them into unmitigated disasters eventually."
Noting that the developing world faced a dual challenge, he said they were the domestic challenge of managing political, economic and social change in an environment of rising expectations and growing disparities and that of securing international environment conducive to meeting developmental aspirations.
"These challenges are inter-linked in our globalised world and success or failure in this double quest would have global consequences," he said.
The prime minister welcomed the agreement reached on the Draft Outcome Document to be adopted on Friday. This, he said, was the roadmap for the work ahead to re-orient the United Nations to meet the challenges of the present. India, he said, would be a keen and willing participant in this process.
Dr Singh recalled the words of Jawaharlal Nehru as prime minister in 1947 that peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity and so also is disaster in this one world that can no no longer be split into isolated fragments. He said more than half-a-century later, these words assume a compelling logic.
"In this one world there is only one United Nations. If we fail the UN, we will fail succeeding generations, who have every right to expect a more enlightened legacy than is currently in sight," he said.
|© Copyright 2008 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.|
|Email this Article Print this Article|
|© 2008 Rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback|