Following is the text of the Prime
Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s address delivered today at 16th NAM
Summit in Tehran:
“I congratulate His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on assuming the
Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement. Mr. Chairman, India will
extend its full cooperation to Iran as it leads the Movement over the
next three years.
I also express my appreciation to Egypt
for its stewardship of the Movement since the last Summit, even though
Egypt has been in the midst of profound domestic change.
Mr. Chairman, the Non-Aligned Movement,
representing the large majority of humankind, has been a powerful force
for the promotion of global peace, security and development. Our shared
objectives of working together to preserve our strategic space, ensure
our social and economic development and strive for a more just and
equitable world order remain as true and relevant today as they were in
Mr. Chairman, your chosen theme for our
Summit – Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance - is timely.
Today’s structures for global governance remain driven by the power
equations of the past. It is not surprising that they have proved
inadequate in dealing with the economic and political crises of our
The deficit in global governance is
perhaps most stark in the sphere of international peace and security and
in restoring just and fair economic and financial mechanisms.
The West Asian and North African region is
undergoing profound change. As the world’s largest democracy, India
supports popular aspirations for a democratic and pluralistic order.
Nevertheless, such transformations cannot be prompted by external
intervention, which exacerbate the suffering of ordinary citizens. The
deteriorating situation in Syria is a matter of particular concern. Our
Movement should take a stand on the issue in keeping with universally
accepted principles. We should urge all parties to recommit themselves
to resolving the crisis peacefully through a Syrian-led inclusive
political process that can meet the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian
The Non-Aligned Movement has always
championed the cause of the Palestinian people. Today, we should renew
our pledge to support an early resolution of the Palestinian question,
so that the long suffering people of Palestine can live in peace and
dignity in a state of their own.
Mr. Chairman, in the past, individually we
may have had little economic and military clout but the collective voice
and reasoned interventions of our Movement commanded respect and
credibility. That voice should again find true expression on a variety
We need new instruments of global governance to confront cross-cutting
and trans-national challenges through coordinated global action. These
include international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, the menace of maritime piracy, the growing threat to cyber
security and the growing challenge of pursuing ecologically sustainable
development while ensuring energy, water and food security.
Our Movement should take the lead in
building global governance structures that are representative, credible
and effective. It is my sincere hope that the Movement can agree on
action to reform institutions such as the United Nations Security
Council, the World Bank and the IMF. Existing problems cannot be solved
effectively without a greater voice for developing countries on issues
such as global trade, finance and investment.
Developing countries can be drivers of
global growth. International financial institutions should therefore be
encouraged to fund infrastructure development in the developing world in
innovative ways. We should also urge that the current economic crisis
should not lead to a dilution of development assistance flows from the
While we come together on the
international stage, it is equally important for us to collaborate among
ourselves in tackling problems and developing solutions that are best
suited to our own circumstances.
For example, the developing world is rich
in renewable sources of energy like solar power We should use our
financial and intellectual resources to develop renewable energy
technologies that get less attention in the industrialised world where
the resource base is different. Adoption of these technologies will also
enable us to contribute to preservation of the environment. We can learn
from each other in this effort.
Similarly, food security is a basic
problem for many of our countries. Excessive speculation, structural
bottlenecks and lack of coordination are fuelling food inflation at the
global level. Our Movement should push for effective food policy
coordination and cooperation at the global level in areas such as
agricultural productivity, weather forecasting and research and
Perhaps most relevant for us is to focus
on investing in the knowledge economy and building our human resources.
When faced with our unique developmental challenges, our youth have the
creativity and energy to find solutions that are innovative, frugal and
affordable. However, we need to provide them skills and equip them to
find productive employment in a rapidly changing and inter-connected
global economy. India would be happy to contribute to a NAM initiative
on skill development, particularly focused on the knowledge economy.
Mr. Chairman, the African continent
provided the intellectual wellspring for many of the leaders of the Non
Aligned Movement. The growth of NAM and decolonization in Africa
progressed almost hand in hand. Africa therefore has a special place in
NAM. India’s own strategic partnership with Africa is premised on making
the people of Africa its primary beneficiaries. The India-Africa Forum
Summit thus provides for an ambitious programme of pan-African
institution-building to enhance our multi-faceted cooperation. I invite
interested NAM members to work with us in areas of priority to Africa.
Nearly two decades ago, India embarked on
a “Look East” policy in an endeavour to learn and benefit from and
contribute to the evolution of a new Asian economic community to our
East. However, the progress, prosperity, well being, political stability
and plurality of the Asia to our West has always been of equal
historical and civilisational significance for us. A West Asian region
that can realize its full potential, live in peace and harmony and join
the comity of democratic and plural societies will contribute greatly to
human progress and peace in the 21st Century.
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by thanking
you for this opportunity to renew our Movement’s collective endeavour
for peace and prosperity which is needed in our troubled planet today.
Even as our members have differing views on different issues, our sense
of common destiny and solidarity unites us and gives us common purpose.
I am certain that our deliberations will be helpful in restoring this
historic Movement to its rightful place on the international stage.”