Gordon Brown seeks ‘global New Deal’ with India

April 23rd, 2008 - 10:33 am ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, April 23 (IANS) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown invited India to be part of what he called “a global New Deal” - a partnership that will overhaul a string of international institutions and create new ones in order to ensure globalisation benefits the world’s poor. The partnership, he told a large gathering of members of the ruling Labour party and prominent non-resident Indian businessmen and bankers in Britain, would seek to end poverty, illiteracy and disease “at a critical point in the global economy” by harnessing the economic, scientific and technological prowess of the two nations.

Just as the Marshall Plan helped the poorest countries rebuild after the ravages of the Second World War, so there was a need for a similar helping hand to the world’s poorest now, he said.

Brown called for India and Britain to jointly rebuild a string of international institutions - from the United Nations to the Group of Eight - and even create new ones.

“We need a global New Deal between rich and poor countries that can release millions of people from poverty, ensure every child goes to school and eradicate preventable and avoidable diseases from the world,” Brown said in his speech to the Labour Friends of India Tuesday.

“And just think what we can achieve - India and Britain working together. I know there are voices in India that I know want to do this. Let the Friends of India send out a message: this partnership is stronger than ever. It will strengthen in the years to come. It will not simply be a partnership for India and Britain. It will be partnership that will benefit the whole world.”

Made in the backdrop of growing warnings of a global recession, Brown’s call for a “global New Deal” recalled the New Deal measures that US president Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced in the 1930s to extend a helping hand to the poorest Americans in the aftermath of the Great Depression.

Tuesday’s meeting was attended by several cabinet ministers, including Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw and Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, as well as Indo-British industrialist Swraj Paul, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, who currently chairs the British Council, and London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

“What is happening at the moment is that we have a moment of opportunity that will come and go unless we make the most of it - a moment of opportunity to rebuild the global institutions in a manner that will make globalisation inclusive for all people across the world,” he said.

Reiterating Britain’s support of India’s demand for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council, he said, “A Security Council without India cannot be a Security Council reflecting the reality of the day.”

Similarly, Brown said: “A G8 that discusses the world economy without involving India cannot be a G8 that is discussing all the details of what needs to be done in the world economy.”

Without naming the International Monetary Fund, he said: “We need a new early warning system for the global economy so we can prevent the kind of credit crunch that we have had in the last few months.

“And that’s why we need an international institution that demands the support of the Asian continent as well as Europe and America that can actually show it can be involved in crisis prevention as well as crisis resolution.”

In his speech, Brown revealed that India and Britain are already working together to consider creating a “World Bank for the environment.”

India and Britain also needed to help beef up the ability of the United Nations to prevent and resolve conflicts.

“I look forward to working with the Indian government and the Indian people in a major programme of the reform of the international institutions that will recognise the rising importance of India in the world but recognise also that India, Britain and other countries working together are the only means by which we can create the type of world that gives us peace, prosperity and sustainable development,” the British premier said.

The prime minister later presented Kinnock with the Fenner Brockway medal, named after a late Labour MP who strongly supported India’s independence.

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