‘Multilateral efforts must guide our quest for peace and security,’ India tells UN

Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

28 September 2013 – At a time when the world faces multiple challenges, the Prime Minister of India today urged a renewed focus on the role of the United Nations as a forum for multilateral action to ensure inclusive growth and development, and to combat terrorism and other “grave” security threats.

Warning that the world today appears equally sceptical both of the capacity of the UN to achieve its goals and of the state of international relations in general, Manmohan Singh told the General Assembly that for multilateralism to remain relevant and effective, multilateral institutions need to be reformed.

“Multilateral efforts must guide our quest for peace and security, wherever they are threatened. And the centrality and contribution of the UN system to development must be restored,” he said.

“The place to begin is right here,” Mr. Singh declared, telling delegations at the Assembly’s annual General Debate that the UN Security Council must be reformed and restructured to reflect current political realities, particularly to include more developing countries as both permanent and non-permanent members.

In addition, global multilateral financial institutions should allow more space in their decision-making structures for the voices of developing countries. “These objectives require the building of a new international consensus, suited to our time and rooted in today’s realities,” he said, underscoring that it is only such a plan of action that will enable the UN to meet the twin tests of legitimacy and efficacy.

“We need to renew our commitment, especially here at the UN, for concerted, cohesive and continuing global action against terrorism,” Mr. Singh continued, urging zero tolerance for States that shelter, arm, train or finance terrorists. “Nor can they absolve themselves of the responsibility to prevent their territories from being used to launch acts of terrorism.”

India, he said, was particularly concerned about the threat of State-sponsored cross-border terrorism in its region, and he urged that “the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down.”

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