M A I N   N E W S

Peace talks with Pak to continue
PM hits out at selective terror war

United Nations, September 23
Calling upon the international community to launch a sustained and determined war against terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made a strong pitch for India’s inclusion as a permanent member in the UN Security Council and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan.

In his hard-hitting maiden address at the United Nations General Assembly, Dr Singh castigated major world powers for adopting “selective approaches and political expediency” in dealing with terrorism.

He also expressed India’s determination to carry forward the peace dialogue with Pakistan to a “purposeful and mutually acceptable” conclusion, reaffirmed India’s opposition to proliferation, spoke about the need for reforms in the UN system and the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr Singh, without naming the US or Pakistan, deprecated the tendency of powerful nations to overlook the absence of democracy in certain countries for reasons of political expediency.

Attired in a dark grey bandhgala and sky blue turban, the 72-year-old Prime Minister regretted that the international community spoke about co-operation in combating terrorism but seemed hesitant to commit itself to a global offensive to root out the menace with the pooling of resources, exchange of information, sharing of intelligence and the unambiguous unity of purpose required.

In his 20-minute forceful speech at the Assembly’s 59th session, he called upon the international community to redouble its efforts to fight the menace in all its forms and manifestations.

“Terrorism exploits the technologies spawned by globalisation, recruits its foot soldiers on ideologies of bigotry and hatred, and directly targets democracies. And yet it is a sad reality that international networks of terror appear to co-operate more effectively among themselves than the democratic nations they target,” Dr Singh said.

On the ongoing dialogue with Pakistan, Dr Singh said relations between the two South Asian nations had been a matter of attention for the international community.

“It is known that since January this year, India and Pakistan have initiated a composite dialogue to resolve all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

India was determined to carry forward this dialogue process to a “purposefully and mutually” acceptable conclusion, he said, as he addressed the 192-member UN General Assembly, a day before his much-awaited meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Speaking about the UN, the Prime Minister said it was common knowledge that the world body was often unable to exert an effective influence on global economic and political issues of critical importance.

This was due to its “democracy deficit”, which prevented effective multilateralism based on a democratically-evolved global consensus.

“Reform and restructuring of the UN system can alone provide a crucial link in an expanding chain of efforts to re-fashion international structures, imbuing them with a greater degree of participatory decision-making, representative of contemporary realities,” he added.

Reaffirming India’s commitment to the principles that had brought his country in the UN, Dr Singh said, “these principles retain their relevance and validity even while the global economy and the international order pose new and very different challenges.”


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