UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday hoped that India would find a way to build and strengthen partnerships of common ground with its neighbours and encouraged it to do “even more” in advancing peace and security.

He also told India that it was imperative for the country to tackle its own human rights challenge through legislation, policy and action to protect citizens regardless of gender, identity or social origin though every country faces such challenges.

Addressing a gathering after being conferred Degree for Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Jamia Millia Islamia, he said, “I believe India will also find the way to build and strengthen partnerships of common ground with your neighbours.

“I knew there are many challenges, but I see a future of steadily warmer ties built on a shared heritage and a common future,” he said.

As the world looks ahead, Mr. Ban said, he would encourage India as a “regional and global force” to do “even more” in advancing peace and security, in sharing its experiences and in deepening south-south cooperation.

Ban lauded the “Indian progress” and “Indian leadership” in eradicating polio and hoped that same would be achieved in eradicating other diseases.

He reminded India that it has to do lot more in eradicating maternal mortality rate and reduce the number of children dying due to preventable diseases.

Lauding India’s “rich tradition of outstanding” women leaders, he termed the election of 10 lakh women to village councils as a “remarkable achievement”.

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