M A I N   N E W S

PM upbeat on G-4 solidarity
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

London, July 8
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the G-4 solidarity on the question of United Nations reforms and expansion of the Security Council had made a difference to the process and this grouping of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan would maintain this.

The Prime Minister’s comments came when the G-4 Foreign Ministers held a meeting here this evening to take further decisions on the issue. External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh flew in here today to participate in this meeting.

Dr Manmohan Singh, addressing a press conference to wind up his three-day visit to UK, said an impromptu meeting of the G-4 took place at Gleneagles at which he, Brazilian President Lula, German Chancellor Schroeder, Japan’s Prime Minister Koizumi agreed that the G-4 solidarity had made a difference to the process.” We would maintain this,” he added.

Asked by this correspondent if he raised the UNSC issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao and whether he saw the Indian quest on UNSC as a glass half full or half empty, he said he did not raise this issue at all during his brief interaction with Mr Hu. Then he asked Mr Natwar Singh, who was sitting by his side, to answer the other part of the question. The foreign minister said he had called on Mr Hu in Kazakhstan three days ago and the Chinese President had assured him that Beijing would not be an obstacle in the way of Indian candidature in UNSC.

The Prime Minister said his government was keeping its doors open to all separatist groups and outfits in Jammu and Kashmir which were willing to shun violence and said that he wanted the international community should join hands to deal with the scourge of terrorism.

Dr Manmohan Singh cited the example of Manipur in response to a question on the Hurriyat in terms of per capita income.

Dr Manmohan Singh also talked about the “beneficial consequences” of the British Raj. “Today, with the balance and perspective offered by the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight, it is possible for an Indian Prime Minister to assert that India’s experience with Britain had its beneficial consequences too.”

He elaborated how. “Our notions of the rule of law, of a Constitutional government, of a free press, of a professional civil service, of modern universities and research laboratories have all been fashioned in the crucible where an age old civilisation met the dominant Empire of the day.... Our judiciary, our legal system, our bureaucracy and our police are all great institutions , derived from British-Indian administration and they have served the country well.”

Dr Manmohan Singh is one of 10 distinguished men and women selected for conferment of honorary degrees by Oxford University this year.

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