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Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Statement on UN Democracy Fund and response to a question on India-US nuclear deal

New Delhi
May 4, 2006 

Official Spokesperson: Good evening. We have a press release on the United Nations Democracy Fund. I will just tell you some of the important points there. The Fund which has been recently set up has announced its online call for the first round of UNDEF (UN Democracy Fund) grants and has initiated the process of inviting project proposals. 

The funding priorities for these projects will include strengthening of democratic dialogue, support for constitutional processes, civil society empowerment, civic education, water registration and strengthening of political parties, citizens access to information, human rights and fundamental freedoms and accountability, transparency and integrity. 

Naturally, the eligible beneficiaries include government agencies; independent and constitutional bodies; civil society organizations and non-government organizations; global and regional inter-government bodies, organizations and associations; and the UN, including its relevant departments. 

India, as the world’s largest democracy, has a large number of institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs and other bodies with considerable expertise in various areas related to the UN Democracy Fund, especially institution building, capacity building, awareness creation and leadership development. 

Given India’s deep rooted commitment to the principles and values of democracy, the Government of India hopes that institutions, civil society organizations and other agencies with relevant capabilities will send meaningful project proposals in large numbers for consideration by the UNDEF. 

To give you some background, India was one of the first countries to support the creation of the UN Democracy Fund. Hon’ble Prime Minister had participated in a ceremony to launch the Fund held in New York on 14 September 2005. Out of a total amount of nearly $49 million pledged to the UNDEF, India has made a contribution of $10 million and is represented on the Fund’s Advisory Board by its Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. 

Question: Condoleezza Rice has spoken about some additional amendments to the nuclear deal. What is our …
Answer: Well, I have seen the press reports. The Government of India’s position remains that our commitments are those that are outlined in the Joint Statement of July 18, 2005.