In its ongoing diplomatic offensive by India to mobilise the international community against states that sponsor terrorism, India has called for setting up a NAM-focused mechanism to enhance counter-terror cooperation among non-aligned nations. India also pressed the 120-member grouping to galvanise the international community to fast-track the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
“Terrorism is one of the most egregious sources of human right violations today, and its use as an instrument of State policy is to be unequivocally condemned. It has become a major impediment to development,” Vice-President Hamid Ansari told the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement at Margarita Island in Venezuela.
Mr Ansari did not mention Pakistan in his address, but it’s anybody’s who he was referring to when he indicted states that use terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
Delinking terrorism from self-serving ideological propaganda, Mr Ansari underlined that “the biggest threat to international peace, and to the sovereignty of States, is the phenomenon of terrorism.”
“No cause justifies the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians as a means to achieve a political goal or change of policies,” he said.
Pitching for a more proactive role by NAM in the battle against terrorism, Mr Ansari, a former diplomat, called for “establish a mechanism within our movement that will ensure effective cooperation in combating terrorism that is the main threat to security, sovereignty and development.” He also pressed the NAM “to galvanize the international community to strengthen the international legal framework to address this menace, including by adopting the draft Comprehensive UN Convention on Terrorism, to ensure the closest cooperation amongst the international community to counter the scourge of terror.”
Rallying the world community at multilateral summits against states that support terrorism has become a part of India’s diplomatic offensive to expose Pakistan’s role as the prime source and instigator of terrorism in the region. In his interventions at the G20 summit in Hangzhou and the East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted one nation that is spreading terror in the region and asked the world community to sanction the instigator and sponsor of terror. India is set to up its diplomatic offensive vis-à-vis Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to be forceful and unsparing in indictment of Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism and highlight human rights abuses in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the resource-rich Baluchistan province.
During NAM’s Foreign Ministers’ meeting, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar had suggested that NAM should set up a “working group on terrorism” to safeguard world peace, stability and prosperity. “Governments which think they can pay lip service to sanity at a NAM summit, and continue to arm, shelter and exploit terrorists in a war by other means, when they return home will learn that you cannot sip on poison and hope to live,” he had said. India’s proposal for a NAM working group on terrorism was predictably resisted by Pakistan.
Focus on UNSC reforms
In his address at the NAM summit, Mr Ansari also underscored the need for speeding up the process of the reform and expansion of the UN Security Council during the 71st session of the UNGA. “Today we need to ask whether an organisation designed in 1945 with just 51 member states, is really appropriate to serve the needs of an international community that now comprises 193 independent sovereign states facing 21st century challenges to their citizens’ well-being and security,” he said.
“World leaders at their Summit at the UN in 2005 had called for urgent reform of the Security Council as part of the effort to make the United Nations fit for the 21st century.”
“The Inter-governmental Negotiations process currently underway in the UN General Assembly seeks to fulfil that mandate. We must use the forthcoming 71st UNGA to ensure that our discussions in the IGN move forward,” he said.
Iran officially handed over the chairmanship of the NAM to Venezuela at the 17th NAM summit in Margarita Island.
Against the backdrop of the shifting international landscape and radical changes since the founding of the NAM in 1961, Mr Ansari underscored the continuing relevance of core values and principles that underpin the 120-member grouping.
“While the global landscape has changed, the values and principles on which they laid the foundations of our Movement, namely “respect for sovereignty”, “peaceful settlement of disputes” and “international cooperation” – are as relevant today as they were at the time of our first Summit.”
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