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Statement by External Affairs Minister at the Ministerial Meeting preceding the XVIIIth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (October 23, 2019)

October 23, 2019

Mr Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to begin by thanking the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as the outgoing Chair, for its stewardship and coordination of our movement over the past three years.

2. We welcome and congratulate our new Chair, the Republic of Azerbaijan. I assure you of India’s fullest cooperation and support as you assume this important leadership position.

3. The leadership of Azerbaijan in NAM will coincide with a couple of very important milestones in our collective journey. We will mark the 65th anniversary of the Bandung Principles next year, and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of NAM in 2021.

Mr Chairman,

4. As a proud founding member, India remains committed to the principles and objectives of the Non Aligned Movement, including our longstanding solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause.

5. The world today has moved on from what the NAM founding leaders faced in Bandung in 1955. The scales of global geo-political balance have shifted, and continue to do so, propelled by forces of globalisation and transformational technological progress. Long-held assumption and alignments rooted in the legacies of colonialism and the ideology of the Cold War are making way for new configurations and partnerships.

6. We are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. Climate change , environmental degradation, terrorism, radicalisation, poverty, public health emergencies, humanitarian and natural calamities, cyber security threats, and the serious security implications of frontier technologies are just some of the challenges of this new world.

7. These challenges can only be faced together, not when we are divided. It requires collaboration, not coercion. In short, effective multilateralism remains the only answer. And that requires all of us to be truly independent and think for ourselves.

Mr Chairman,

8. Multilateralism is undoubtedly under strain today. It is important that our Movement that represents two thirds of the world’s population - continues to work together and take the lead in building multilateral governance structures that are capable of meeting these challenges.

9. We must reform and revitalise the current arrangements and working methods of our Movement, to allow us to pursue a positive and forward looking agenda. At the same time, we must guard against attempts to divide us and to misuse multilateral platforms to further narrow interests.

10. In sum, a democratic, effective, flexible, credible, transparent and representative, multilateral order – "reformed multilateralism”, if you will – is a 21st century imperative.

11. Essential to this, Mr. Chairman, we believe, is the early and meaningful reform of the United Nations, and in particular its principal organ of global peace and security, the Security Council. We reiterate in this context our support for Africa’s Common Position on Security Council Reforms, entailing an expansion in both categories of Council membership. We welcome the support expressed by NAM for this position in the Final Document. The time has come now to move on to the next phase, and commence text based negotiations – a demand supported by a majority of UN members, including most NAM members. We hope that we will finally see concrete reform of the UN in its 75th anniversary year.

Mr Chairman,

12. Terrorism is the single biggest threat not only to international peace and security, but also to development. No cause justifies the indiscriminate killing of innocents as a means of achieving a political goal. The growing linkages between terrorist groups and cross-border operations including terror financing networks, and the spread of hateful ideologies through modern communication technologies have left no country untouched by this scourge.

13. As a group whose citizens stand to lose the most, our collective actions must match our words. Our fight against terrorism has to be fought collectively and across all fronts. The international community cannot afford selective approaches or double standards on this issue.

14. We must boost collective efforts for cooperation among Member States to confront the scourge of terrorism, including through exchange of information and best practices, preventing misuse of modern technologies, monitoring illicit financial flows and cooperating in investigation and judicial procedures.

15. In 1996, India proposed a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in order to further strengthen the existing legal frameworks. Two decades on, we have made little progress. We urge our NAM partners to renew the commitment to finalize the CCIT, and to mobilise the international community towards this goal.

Mr Chairman,

16. Technology is transforming our world at an unprecedented rate. As developing countries, it is our people that stand to be the most profoundly affected by these changes. However, our policy makers and industry must have the capacity to manage this transformation.

17. Digital and data-based technologies, Artificial Intelligence, and Industry 4.0 hold immense promise for the prosperity and quality of life of our people. At the same time, these present new challenges in the form of implications for the future of work, threats to privacy, cyber crime and data theft. Again, the only way to address these issues, which cut across borders, is to act together.

18. Multilateral systems must offer innovative solutions to these new and emerging challenges. India is proud to be associated with two such new initiatives: the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. We invite more of our NAM partners to join us in these endeavours towards a cleaner, safer and more sustainable planet.

Mr Chairman,

19. NAM’s strength lies not just in our numbers but in the sheer diversity of its membership, and in our firm anchoring in commonly agreed principles.

20. We look forward to constructive deliberations today and the spirit of solidarity and fraternity that characterizes NAM. Together, let us revitalize our Movement in order to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for all our people.

I thank you.

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