(AFP) – Jan 21, 2008
NEW DELHI (AFP) — Britain and India made their case for reform of the United Nations Security Council Monday, arguing its credibility was at stake if it did not bring new players onto the world stage.
Speaking after talks in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and premier Gordon Brown both called for India to have a seat at the UN's top table because of its growing economic and diplomatic clout.
"I think that there is a broad agreement that international institutions, if they are to be credible, cannot ignore countries like India and China," Singh said, saying both were giving a "major stimulus" to the world economy.
"You cannot deal with global problems and global concerns if countries like India are not on the high table."
Brown, who earlier Monday sketched out his vision for reform of world bodies, including the UN, World Bank, G8 and the International Monetary Fund, agreed.
At a news conference, he failed to answer a question about whether attempts at reform were doomed to failure without discussion of a similar role for a major Islamic country, and admitted there could be opposition.
But Brown added:" A country of one billion people, that's the fastest growing economy, that's ready to assume its rightful place in the world should have its place on the UN Security Council as it reforms."
"India is the biggest democracy in the world and it is one of the world's fastest growing economies and making a huge contribution to the economic prosperity of the whole world," he added.
"I believe that India should assume its vital place in the deliberations of the world including membership of the UN Security Council."
India is already part of the G4 group of nations with Japan, Germany and Brazil arguing for a greater say at the UN. India is also involved in the G8 plus five outreach group.
Brown had earlier told business leaders the changes should be inspired by the post-war "visionaries" who set up the United Nations and other bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
But he said the "new world order" should be more representative of what he called "the biggest shift in the balance of economic power in the world in two centuries" -- the Asian economic boom of countries like India.
"To succeed now, the post-war rules of the game and the post-war international institutions -- fit for the Cold War and a world of just 50 states -- must be radically reformed to fit our world of globalisation."
He added: "We can and must do more to make our global institutions more representative. I support changes to the IMF, World Bank and the G8 that reflect the rise of India and Asia."
Chief among Brown's proposals are making the World Bank "an environmental bank" to tackle climate change and more proactive work by the IMF to spot and intervene in financial crises like that affecting Britain's Northern Rock bank.
And he had also called for a new standby civilian force to go into failed states under the auspices of the UN to work in tandem with international peacekeepers.
Brown arrived in India from China on Sunday. Both countries are among the world's fastest growing economies and like many European countries, Britain is keen to court them to boost lucrative trade ties and other links.
He indicated Sunday that Britain -- the former colonial power in India until 1947 -- was no longer the dominant partner.
Brown said he and Singh had "an excellent summit which has made a significant progress."
"Ours is a strategic partnership of equals. A confident, modern 21st century India and a confident modern 21st century Britain."
"I am delighted that trade between India and Britain has increased by 100 percent over the last five years, and that it is now increasing by 20 percent every year," the prime minister said.
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