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September 8, 2000
India ready to play role in expanded Security Council: PM
Amberish K Diwanji at the UN
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told the United Nations Millennium Summit on Friday that international terrorism poses the single greatest threat to democracy, development and peace in our times.
"Of all the threats to democracy, development and peace, the most diabolic is international terrorism with its links to religious extremism, drug trafficking, and commerce in illicit arms. Terrorism feeds on violence against innocent people and seeks to undermine plural, open societies," he told the vast gathering of leaders assembled at the Summit.
The prime minister called on the assembled leaders, who had gathered to chart a new course of international co-operation in the 21st century, to act against terrorism before it is too late.
"We urge the early adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism that will be negotiated at the UN General Assembly that follows the summit," he said.
Speaking in shuddh Hindi, for which oration he is well-known in India, Vajpayee pointed out that many statesman-like words have been delivered from this high tribune. "Unfortunately, some of them are a mockery of the truth. The world must see the reality as it is," he said.
Emphasising that the acid test of sincerity of purpose is not words but deeds, the prime minister categorically stated, "Terrorism and dialogue do not go together."
"We cannot have development without peace between nations and democracy within them. Peace, democracy, and development secure each other," he announced to the vast assembly.
Speaking on the danger posed by nuclear war to global peace and security, he said India was in the forefront of the campaign for nuclear disarmament. "But we raised our voice to no avail," he added.
"India," he stated, "was forced to develop these weapons in 1998 because the principal nuclear weapon states refused to accept the almost universal demand for disarmament."
Pointing out that the spread of nuclear weapons "in our neighbourhood had made us especially vulnerable," he stated, "India's bitter experience has taught her that she has to be strong to defend peace."
The prime minister reiterated that India's nuclear policy is based on responsibility and restraint, and that India's commitment to universal, verfiable nuclear disarmament remains undiminished.
In the concluding segment of his speech, the prime minister turned to the issue of restructuring the UN Security Council.
He told the gathering that in the last half century, the world has changed as has the international order, but which changes were not reflected in the structure of the UN Security Council.
Adding that the Security Council would continue to have a rather special role to play in the new century, he said it was necessary that the Security Council be made more representative of the new realities.
"India," he declared, "is ready to play its role in an expanded Security Council."
The prime minister's speech, which he delivered at a brisk pace, lasted 5 minutes, 37 seconds.
However, the speech at the Summit was only a brief version of the whole speech which will be placed on record. The whose speech is a long one, outlining in detail of all that he covered in his speech to the summit.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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