PM for multilateral approach to meet ‘contemporary challenges’

September 22nd, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday called for “collective and multilateral approaches” to deal with “contemporary challenges” like terrorism and the food and energy crisis and stressed on the UN’s central role to promote global peace, stability and development.Manmohan Singh, who leaves Monday afternoon on a 10-day visit to the US and France, said in a departure statement: “I am leaving for New York to attend the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly. India has consistently attached importance to the central role of the United Nations in promoting global peace, stability and development.”

He will also address the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals while in New York.

“I will use the opportunity to articulate India’s conviction that the contemporary challenges of our times are best addressed through collective and multilateral approaches,” he added.

Manmohan Singh argued that there was a need for the reform of the international institutions, including the UN and to address the contemporary challenges in the world.

“I will draw the world community’s attention to the need for the reform of international institutions, including of the United Nations, and to address global challenges such as the food and energy crises, terrorism and progress on the Millennium Development Goals.”

While in New York, the prime minister will have a number of bilateral meetings with important countries like China, Pakistan, Italy, Britain and Namibia.

The prime minister is also scheduled to meet a group of US CEOs and members of the Indian-American community, who have both contributed to the “consolidation” of India-US relations.

From New York he will fly down to Washington for a meeting with US President George W. Bush.

“I look forward to my discussions with him on the entire range of issues on our bilateral agenda with the United States, including our civil nuclear initiative,” Manmohan Singh said in his statement.

There is a possibility that the India-US civil nuclear deal may be signed when they meet.

From the US, the prime minister will leave for France, where he will attend a India-European Union Summit in Marseilles on Sep 29 and then leave for Paris the next day for a bilateral summit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We attach high value to our excellent relations with the European Union,” the prime minister said.

He pointed out: “The European Union is our largest trading partner with whom we enjoy a multi-faceted strategic partnership.

“India and Europe are bound by the common values of democracy and pluralism. We have diverse areas of cooperation, including in the area of counter-terrorism, which I will seek to strengthen.”

Manmohan Singh will also attend a India-EU Business Summit that will be held on the sidelines of the meet in Marseilles.

India and France have “initialled” an agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation, but have not yet concluded it.

France is a key player in the civil nuclear energy field and is keen to begin nuclear trade with India. But the leaders of the two countries will also take the opportunity to discuss a number of other areas where they can cooperate.

“India’s relations with France are longstanding and of strategic importance,” Manmohan Singh said in his statement.

He added: “I am confident that my visit will lead to the further consolidation of our relations in the areas of trade and investment, defence, space, civil nuclear cooperation and high technology.”

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