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External Affairs Minister Mr. S.M. Krishna's opening remarks at the Press Meeting in New York

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for your presence here today. 

You know that I have been here in New York for the past week in connection with the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. I addressed the General Assembly yesterday; I am sure, a copy of my speech is already with you.

It is going to be 65 years next year since the establishment of the United Nations. The global order has since changed dramatically. 

The UN must also change and reflect contemporary reality. The thrust of my message was therefore the need for change at the UN. 

Obviously, in this context I underscored the need for an expansion of the UNSC both in its permanent and its non-permanent seats.

Of course, I also used the opportunity to stress the role of the UN to address urgent problems facing the globe. 

In this context, I urged the urgent adoption of the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism, which has been under negotiation at the UN for more than 15 years. 
On 22nd September I led the Indian delegation for the Climate Change Summit. The delegation included Minister of State for Environment & Forests, Shri Jairam Ramesh, and the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Climate Change, Shri Shyam Saran. 

Our central message was that India has a major interest in ensuring an ambitious and equitable outcome at the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, which recognizes that developing countries need to pursue growth. 

Domestically, we are taking many measures to address climate, both on mitigation and adaptation. Many of these will have specific and time-bound goals.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, I attended a number of Ministerial meetings of various groupings of which we are members. These included IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), G-5 (India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, China) and BRIC (India, Brazil, China, Russia). These meetings were opportune in emphasizing the close coordination India and our partners on various global issues. 

I also participated in the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting, the annual meeting of the G-77 Foreign Ministers and the India – Gulf Cooperation Council Ministerial meeting.

You are aware that there were more than 50 requests for bilateral meetings with me. I met the President of Maldives and was able to meet a number of Foreign Ministers at the plurilateral fora and at key bilateral meetings. Our PR had hosted a reception for me, which was attended by the Prime Minister of Nepal, the Vice President of Suriname, and several Foreign Ministers. 

My bilateral meetings included the US Secretary of State, the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Egypt, Afghanistan, the Secretary General of the Arab League, and as you are aware, just a little while ago, Pakistan. 

My meeting with His Excellency Foreign Minister Qureshi was preceded by a detailed meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan. We had a useful, constructive and candid exchange of views on the present situation in our bilateral relations. We both agreed that the future direction in our bilateral relations has to be one of deeper, sustained and meaningful relations. Being a neighbor, there is an imperative to have a mutually beneficial relationship with each other in the long term interests of our own countries and to realize our national developmental priorities. I utilized this opportunity to convey to Foreign Minister Quershi our appreciation that for a sustained and meaningful dialogue process to succeed, it is essential to ensure an environment free of violence, terrorism and the threat to use violence. As you are aware, we do have serious and continuing concerns about terrorists and extremist groups in Pakistan which are a national security risk for us and for our people. Foreign Minister Quershi conveyed to me the seriousness of his Government in bringing to book through their legal process those responsible for the terrorist outrage in Mumbai ten months ago. Pakistan has taken some steps within its own legal system against those directly responsible for the attack on Mumbai and the processes thus instituted must gather further momentum. We remain concerned about the threat which groups and individuals in Pakistan continue to pose to us. I, therefore, underlined and reiterated in my meeting that concrete and effective steps against these individuals and entities can instill in us the confidence that commitments given by Pakistan that it would not allow its soil to be used for terrorist attacks against India would be adhered to. The case regarding Hafiz Sayeed is also one that concerns us as evidence available with us bring out his major role in the Mumbai Terrorist Attack Conspiracy. Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed to me that the trial against those accused for the Mumbai attack would begin shortly and that the Pakistan Government will take steps to see justice done. We will be monitoring developments on this score very carefully.

My meeting with Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the high importance of the unique and multi-faceted partnership between our two countries. PM’s visit to Washington in November this year, will help further strengthen and broaden this relationship.

I had a fruitful discussion with Foreign Minister Spanta of Afghanistan and used the opportunity to convey that India stands for political stability and comprehensive development in a democratic Afghanistan. 

I had the opportunity to underscore to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister the importance of rehabilitating and resettling the IDPs on priority, and our hope to see their full integration.