International community grappling with "negative dimensions" of globalisation, Dr Singh says

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for changes in the structure of the United Nations to address a deepening global crisis which has generated “great uncertainty and profound change.”

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday, Dr. Singh said, “Till a few years ago, the world had taken for granted the benefits of globalisation and global interdependence. But now we are being called upon to cope with the negative dimensions.” “Economic, social and political events in different parts of the world,” he said, “have coalesced together and their adverse impact is now being felt across countries and continents.”

There was a “deficit in global governance” which necessitated “a stronger and more effective United Nations.” “For this,” Dr. Singh argued, “the United Nations and its principal organs, the General Assembly and the Security Council, must be revitalised and reformed.” He underlined the need for “early reform of the Security Council.”

Dr. Singh said “the development agenda must be brought firmly back to the centre stage of the United Nations' priorities.”

The Prime Minister provided a broad-brush account of the key drivers of global instability. He noted that “the traditional engines of the global economy such as the U.S., Europe and Japan, which are also the sources of global economic and financial stability, are faced with continued economic slowdown.”

In addition, there was an “unprecedented social and political upheaval” in West Asia and North Africa; food and energy prices “are once again spiralling and introducing fresh instability;” long-standing disputes like the Palestinian question remained unresolved; terrorism remained a major challenge; piracy threatening the Indian Ocean's shipping lanes was escalating. Finally, “iniquitous growth, inadequate job and education opportunities and denial of basic human freedoms are leading to growing radicalisation of the youth, intolerance and extremism.”

Dr. Singh devoted a substantial part of his speech to addressing the growing reliance on the use of force by western powers to engage with political conflicts, often legitimised as humanitarian interventions.

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