External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s speech to UN General Assembly: Full text

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

United Nations: External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday asked Pakistan to stop its state-sponsored militancy and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, “an integral part of India”, and sought an expansion of the UN Security Council.

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In his address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he also talked about climate change, nuclear disarmament, Afghanistan and India’s relations with Pakistan.

Here’s the full text of his speech:

Mr President, the United Nations, with its universal membership and equality of nations, enjoys a unique legitimacy that requires it to be at the centre of international governance. We must, therefore, not just reaffirm the central role of the UN in global governance but restore and reinforce it reflecting contemporary realities.

India remains fully committed to the principles and purposes of the United Nations and believes that the UN should be at the core of global governance and efforts to meet the challenges of collective peace, security and development. The UN, however, needs urgent reform to reflect contemporary realities and to effectively meet emerging global challenges.

The changes in the global geo-strategic order since 1945 have barely been reflected in the most vital of the UN’s organs, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council spends most, if not all of its time, on issues pertaining to the developing world. Developing countries contribute almost all the troops that are part of the UN’s peacekeeping presence worldwide.

Yet, their voice on the Council’s high table on decisions relating to international peace and security is barely audible. Despite the agenda of the Council being seized of conflicts in Africa, yet, there is no permanent member from Africa in the Security Council.

In the inter-governmental negotiations on the issue of Security Council reform, an overwhelming majority of the membership expressed clear support for expansion in both the permanent and the non-permanent categories of the Council along with an improvement of its working methods. It is imperative that we take these negotiations to an early and logical conclusion.

The General Assembly, as the chief deliberative, policy making and representative organ of the UN, must set the global political, economic and social agenda. It must reclaim its position on vital matters like the appointment of the Secretary General and in the relationship between the UN and the Bretton Woods Institutions. Along with the ECOSOC, the General Assembly should also set the paradigms of multilateral engagement for the global economy and for development and development cooperation.

Mr. President, terrorism has emerged as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. To defeat this scourge, it is imperative for the global community to build on international cooperation and take concerted action against terrorists and their sponsors. Acts of terrorism need to be condemned by all, wherever and whenever they are committed, by whomsoever and for whatever purposes. There can be no justification for terrorism just as there can be no good and bad terrorists.

India is a party to all major international conventions against terrorism and fully supports implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism strategy. However, there remain considerable gaps in the international legal framework against terrorism.

The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is designed to fill these gaps. We urge Member States to display the necessary political will to finalise and adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Mr. President, peace and stability in South Asia is one of our highest priorities. We are committed to good neighbourly relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan. It is in this spirit of solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their hour of need, that we pledged US$ 25 million aid which is being channelled through the UN for flood relief efforts in that country.

As a neighbour we wished to provide succour and relief in a timely manner to the victims of this natural disaster. We are saddened by the loss of life and property that Pakistan has suffered as a result of these unprecedented floods.

It is well known that many countries have deep-rooted concerns about the growth and consolidation of militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. We share these concerns, particularly because Jammu & Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, is the target of such Pakistan-sponsored militancy and terrorism.

Pakistan must fulfill its solemn commitment of not allowing territory under its control to be used for terrorism directed against India. Credible and firm action by Pakistan against terrorist groups operating from its soil is in the interest of the region as it is in Pakistan’s own interest.

Pakistan cannot impart lessons to us on democracy and human rights. If, however, Pakistan were to live up to its commitment not to allow use of its soil by terrorists acting against India, this would significantly help reduce the trust deficit that impedes the development of better bilateral relations between our two countries. We are neighbours, and as neighbours, we have an obligation to work together.

The peoples of South Asia share a common destiny and my government has consistently stressed that we will work together with our South Asian brothers and sisters to build a future that brings prosperity and development through strengthened dialogue and cooperation.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])