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Addressing UN General Debate, Indian minister calls for international convention on terrorism

S. M. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs of India.
UN Photo/Jennifer S. Altman
S. M. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs of India.

Addressing UN General Debate, Indian minister calls for international convention on terrorism

Describing terrorism as one of the most “potent threats” to international peace, India’s Minister of External Affairs, S. M. Krishna, used his address before the United Nations General Assembly today to call for universal rejection of acts of terror and piracy.

“The international community must adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach towards terrorism and focus on efforts to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, including its invidious network of epicentres, training facilities and financing,” Mr. Krishna told the 67th Assembly’s on the last day of its General Debate, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York.

He said it was “high time” the world “demonstrated the necessary political will” to finalize a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would aim to strengthen international law in the bid to suppress terrorist acts.

Mr. Krishna raised the spectre of nuclear terrorism by highlighting what he called the “grave risks” posed by terrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons. “Measures must be taken to reduce nuclear risks,” he said.

While he also noted India was committed to achieving a nuclear-free world, he added there was a “need to forge a renewed consensus” on non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. He said this included a need for a “meaningful dialogue” among states possessing nuclear weapons to “build trust and confidence for reducing the salience” of such arms in international affairs and security doctrines.

The international response to acts of piracy should also be “under UN auspices,” Mr. Krishna added, noting that, “apart from major economic and commercial consequences of this scourge, it has serious humanitarian implications for a large number of seafarers and their families.”

“The need of the hour is once again concerted international action… with special attention being paid to address the welfare of seafarers and their families,” he added.

Still on the theme of security, the External Affairs Minister highlighted India’s “proud history” of participation in UN peacekeeping operations. But he observed that the international community needed to “ensure peacekeeping is adequately resourced and enabled to meet the realities of today, including in post-conflict and peacebuilding contexts.”

In his remarks, Mr. Krishna addressed a series of other national and international issues, among them development, gender equality, climate change, and UN reform.

He noted India was “firmly committed” to “scaling up” its development partnership with Africa, while on the issue of gender, he said women’s empowerment was “essential to the pursuit of building inclusive societies.”

India’s approach to what he described as its commitment to climate change would be through a “comprehensive, equitable and balanced outcome, based on the principles of equity and common, but differentiated, responsibilities,” the Indian official stated.

On the issue of UN reform, echoing many other officials who have addressed the Assembly over recent days, Mr. Krishna said India believed that most in need of reform at the world body was its 15-member Security Council, which he declared should see both its permanent and non-permanent membership extended.

“The reformed Council must include countries that are capable and willing to bear additional burdens relating to the maintenance of international peace and security and be able to sustain global campaigns against new and emerging threats,” he said.

India’s Minister of External Affairs is among scores of heads of state and government, and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual, national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends later on Monday.