Public Diplomacy Public Diplomacy

Media Interaction by Foreign Secretary on India's priorities at 67th UNGA

September 27, 2012

The current UNGA Session commenced on 18 September. This year, the General Debate including the addresses by the Heads of delegation is taking place from 25 September to 1 October. External Affairs Minister is scheduled to address the General Debate in the morning of 1 October. He will arrive in New York tomorrow.

The present UN General Assembly Session is taking place at a time when the world is facing continued economic and financial uncertainty and the Middle East and North Africa region continues also to be in a state of flux. During this GA session, India will actively pursue measures aimed at strengthening multilateralism while ensuring that the interests and concerns of the developing world form the basis of these endeavours. A major part of India’s efforts will be directed towards maintaining development as a centerpiece of the UN’s priorities.

During the 67th UNGA, our efforts will be to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda retains its focus on poverty eradication and inclusive growth. We will be pro-active on the evolution of the Sustainable Development Goals in an inter-governmental process visualized at Rio+20, ensuring the primacy of development and addressing environmental and social concerns of developing countries. We will also seek the early implementation of the financing strategy and the facilitation mechanism for transfer of technology to support sustainable development.

We will work on consolidating the progress achieved till date in the process of UN Security Council reform with a view towards its early realisation. In this regard, we hope to proactively engage with members in the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform and to strive for an early expansion of the Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories of its membership. Yesterday, I participated in the G-4 Ministerial Meeting where we took stock of the progress achieved in the last year and considered how to take the process forward in this General Assembly. We agreed to inject greater political momentum and work together to give an impetus to the reform process.

We will continue to stress the need for a proactive campaign against terrorism and will work towards an early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. As Chairman of the UN Security Council’s Committee on Counter Terrorism, we will urge all member states to ensure zero tolerance towards terrorism and to take urgent action to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We propose to focus on the issue of terrorist financing at the Counter Terrorism Committee’s special meeting scheduled for November 2012.

Consistent with our long-standing policy, we will continue to emphasise India’s commitment to universal, non-discriminatory, phased and verifiable nuclear disarmament, in a time-bound manner, as embodied in the Rajiv Gandhi Plan of Action.

India attaches high priority to combating piracy off the coast of Somalia. While continuing our anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, we will urge the international community to address the serious problem of seafarers being taken hostage by pirates and the consequent humanitarian problems being faced by them and their families. India is also chairing the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) from September-December 2012 and we will use this opportunity also to highlight our concerns as well as to seek to achieve progress at the UN in the global fight against piracy.

India will hold the Presidency of UN Security Council in November 2012. It may be recalled that we last presided over the Council in August 2011. This time around, we plan to have a thematic debate on piracy, as well as a Meeting on the working methods of the Security Council during our Chairmanship.

External Affairs Minister will be participating in several high-level events during this segment of the General Assembly. These include: (i) a Ministerial Meeting of the India-Gulf Cooperation Council on 28 September; (ii) the annual Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting on 29 September; (iii) a high-level meeting to commemorate 15 years of the Convention against Chemical Weapons on 1 October; and (iv) the informal meeting of SAARC Foreign Ministers on 2 October. He is scheduled to meet US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on 1 October.

External Affairs Minister will also take part in events on 2 October at the UN being organized at the initiative of India on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence. While in the US, EAM will travel to Brown University on 28 September to deliver a lecture on India-US relations. He will also travel to Milwaukee and visit the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin on 4 October where he will meet with relatives of the victims of the Gurdwara attack that took place last month.

External Affairs Minister's visit to New York for the 67th UNGA Session will enable India’s voice to be articulated and heard again in this important body, which is seeing the presence of a number of other world leaders. It will also enable External Affairs Minister to exchange views with many of his counterparts both in informal and formal settings.

Thank you.

Question: Response on the President of Pakistan reference to J& K in his UNGA address.

Foreign Secretary: Well, we have seen the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the statement of the President of Pakistan . You know, our principled position on the issue has been consistent and is well known. The people of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, have peacefully chosen their destiny in accordance with democratic practices and they continue to do so. Question: Russian support for India's UNSC candidature and does it help the G4 as a whole.

Foreign Secretary: You see, on the G4 process, we have in fact issued a communiqué...a press statement after our meeting yesterday. I think it should be available. That, I think, clarifies where we are going as part of the G4 process. What I was referring to was a reference, which the Russian Foreign Minister made during a BRICS FMs meeting which I attended on behalf of India.

There, while debating this issue on the general title of UN Security Council reform which was part of a larger discussion on reform of institutions of global governance; we also discussed the IMF and other issues.

In his statement, the Russian Foreign Minister made a categorical statement that he supports India’s candidature for permanent membership of the Security Council. So this is the context in which that statement was made.

New York
September 27, 2012

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