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Statement by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh prior to his departure to New York

New Delhi

I leave today on a visit to New York to attend the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The United Nations General Assembly is meeting this year at a time when the world is faced with multiple challenges. The global economy is in the midst of an economic slowdown coupled with all its attendant problems, including inflationary pressures.

The West Asia, North Africa and Gulf regions have seen major upheavals and there is uncertainty about the shape of things to come in this crucial part of the world in the period ahead. The Palestine question remains unresolved.

Terrorism and non-traditional threats to international security, such as piracy, are threatening states and the international political and social order.

More than ever before, it is imperative for all countries to act in concert to address these challenges. This is the time for United Nations to resume its global leadership role.

India has been a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since January this year, after a gap of 19 years. Our efforts at promoting international peace and security and bringing to bear a developing country perspective have, I believe, enriched the Council’s deliberations and enhanced its effectiveness.

The United Nations must be seen as an impartial, credible and effective body. I will stress the need for early reform of this unique organization, particularly an expansion of its Security Council.

During my visit, I look forward to holding bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Iran, South Sudan and Sri Lanka, and the Prime Ministers of Japan and Nepal.