India remains leader of developing world, NAM: US

India's size, population, and strategic location give it a prominent voice in international affairs, and its growing economic strength, military prowess and scientific and technical capacity give it added weight, the State Department said in a background note on India released here yesterday.

"The end of the Cold War dramatically affected Indian foreign policy. India remains a leader of the developing world and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)," it said.

India is now strengthening its political and commercial ties with the United States, Japan, the European Union, Iran, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"Always an active member of the United Nations, India seeks a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The country holds a non-permanent seat on the Security Council 2011-2012. India has a long tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping operations," said the background note.

Recognising India as a key to strategic US interests, the United States has sought to strengthen its relationship with India. The two countries are the world's largest democracies, both committed to political freedom protected by representative government, the note said.

India is also moving gradually towards greater economic freedom.

"The US and India have a common interest in the free flow of commerce and resources, including through the vital sea lanes of the Indian Ocean. They also share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia," it said.

Puri expressed India's concerns over the workings of the 1267 Sanctions Committee, which deals exclusively with sanctions relating to Taliban, saying "its functioning continues to be subjected to political pulls and pressure. This is a scenario that we can ill-afford in our fight against terrorism."

The 1267/1989 committee was split into two in June this year with the 1989 committee dealing with sanctions only relating to Al-Qaeda.

Puri said India was hopeful that this split would enable the Afghan government to have a greater say in confronting the challenges emanating from those constituting a threat to the peace, security and stability in the country.

He said it is critical that all sanctions regimes established by the Security Council must ensure their decision-making process is swift, fair and transparent.

The committees must continue to focus on the linkages between Al-Qaeda and Taliban, which pose a serious threat to international peace and  security.

Puri, who is also chair of the Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee, briefed the 15-member body on the activities of his committee.

He informed the council that the comittee had issued an updated global survey on the status of counter-terrorism efforts around the world.

The survey pointed out that member states continue to struggle to secure porous borders, monitor financial systems, strengthen their judicial systems and prosecute or  extradite terrorist suspects.

Inadequate funding and training constrain the ability of many nations to be effective. The survey also expressed concern that terrorists are turning increasingly to the internet and new technologies to recruit.

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