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NAM more relevant than ever: Manmohan Singh

Thursday, July 16, 2009 10:17:22 AM, Agencies

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the relevance of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM has) "never been greater than today" and called for greater solidarity among members in tackling global challenges, including the financial crisis, energy security, climate change and the UN reforms.


"History has shown that non-alignment is an idea that evolves but does not fade. We must take it forward, harnessing it to meet the challenges of today," Manmohan Singh said on the opening day of the 15th NAM summit that is attended by 118 leaders from developing countries.


Invoking the words of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the first NAM conference in 1961, Manmohan Singh said: "The power of nations assembled here is not military power or economic power, nevertheless it is power."


Nehru, along with Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Marshal Tito of then Yugsoslavia, were prime movers in shaping the NAM, founded at the 1955 Bandung conference.


Underlining the importance of NAM in addressing contemporary global problems, Manmohan Singh said the 15th NAM summit was being held amid the world's worst economic crisis in living memory.


The NAM has "a great stake in ensuring that steps planned to revive the global economy take into account the concerns of developing countries," he said.


"These include the challenges of food security, energy security, the environment and the reform of institutions of global governance," he said.


Manmohan Singh's reiteration of faith in NAM, which proudly flaunted equidistance from the Cold War superpowers, the US and the then USSR, has lost its relevance in today's unipolar world

He also made a strong pitch for reforms of global bodies, saying developing countries must be "fully represented in the decision-making levels of international institutions."


Apparently setting the tone for what he is likely to take up with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during their meeting on Thursday, Dr. Singh said that in recent years terrorists have become "more sophisticated, more organized and more daring".
Dr. Singh said that terror infrastructures in any part of the world must and should be dismantled. He was indirectly referring to the number of times India has been subjected to terror strikes in the recent past, the alleged export of terror from Pakistani soil, and in particular to the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008 in which more than 180 persons had been killed and more than 300 had been maimed by terrorists from Pakistan.


"Terrorists and those who aid and abet them must be brought to justice. The infrastructure of terrorism must be dismantled and there should be no safe havens for terrorists because they do not represent any cause, group or religion. It is time we agree on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism," the Prime Minister said.




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