Global governance structure outdated, says India

India on Tuesday said outdated global governance architecture has failed to meet contemporary challenges, including economic slowdown and the crisis in Syria.

Even as the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran is being seen as a diplomatic coup by Iran against the US, its allies in the west and Israel, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the 120-member-bloc of developing countries should take a greater role to reform global governance.

“There is widespread recognition that the outdated structures of global governance have not been able to keep pace with contemporary political and economic challenges. Many of these challenges, such as the worsening situation in Syria, a persistent global economic slowdown, and other new and emerging threats, require credible trans-national action,” Singh said before leaving for Tehran to attend the NAM summit, an event where New Delhi is expected to walk the tightrope to balance its energy interests in Iran and its ties with the US.  

With leaders of over 30 countries and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attending the summit, Iran is projecting the conclave as a rebuff to the campaign by the US and Israel to isolate the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear programme. While many western analysts dismissed the NAM as an irrelevant relic of Cold War days, the US Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland went on to say that Iran did not deserve such high-level attendance in the conclave.

New Delhi, however, on Tuesday underlined the relevance of NAM, as it pledged to continue to promote South-South cooperation. The “original wellsprings” of NAM continued to remain relevant, “especially in a world where the global economy remains in crisis and the geo-political landscape continues to be transformed in uncertain and unpredictable ways,” said the prime minister.

“I will stress that our movement should provide a strong political impetus to the ongoing efforts to reform and democratise global governance structures, which are critical to tackle these challenges more effectively,” Singh said. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna called upon the NAM members to redouble “efforts towards a more democratic, equitable and legitimised international architecture.”

“India remains convinced that until comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council is undertaken, the overall reform of the UN can only be regarded as piecemeal and incomplete. We also need a more representative international financial architecture, with an increase in the voice and representation of the developing countries.

The current slow pace of quota and governance reforms in the International Monetary Fund must be expedited,” Krishna said, at a debate on “Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance,” at the NAM ministerial meeting in Tehran.

The crisis in Syria is going to be one of the key issues to be discussed at the NAM summit. Iran is likely to propose to set up a contact group to help diffuse the crisis.

India has differences with the US and its allies over the nature of international intervention in Syria. In the UN Security Council and General Assembly, New Delhi has been opposing “unilateral” moves for externally-induced regime change in Syria, where over 10,000 people have been killed and countless others maimed and rendered homeless due to the 16-month-long conflict between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the rebels.

Krishna on Tuesday reiterated New Delhi’s support for a “Syrian-led inclusive political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of all sections of Syrian society and respects Syria’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

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