Date:19/10/2003 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2003/10/19/stories/2003101903231000.htm
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National

`Push for multipolar world need not be confrontationist'

By Amit Baruah

NEW DELHI OCT. 18. The External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said today that it was "important to differentiate" between American power and unilateralism. "It is not necessary that one leads to the other," he claimed.

Delivering the Ninth Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Memorial Lecture, Mr. Sinha said, "Nor is it advisable that U.S. power be countered by outmoded concepts of balance of power...the Cold War proved the futility of such confrontation."

"The U.S. Secretary of State, (Colin) Powell, in a recent speech, emphasised the need for partnership to replace confrontation, and I have no difficulty in endorsing his view. India's vision of a multipolar world is one of partnership and not confrontation," he stated.

"The concept of multipolarity sometimes is mistaken for a policy of creating poles in opposition to each other. These are prescriptions that have in them seeds for re-creating the confrontationist model of the Cold War. They do not serve India's interests."

In a reference to Iraq, Mr. Sinha said the limitations of unilateralism were all too evident. "There is a yearning for peace and prosperity the world over."

Speaking on the theme of "India and the Emerging World Order", he said India had demonstrated to the world that it was conscious of its responsibilities as a "nuclear weapon state" and had refrained from brinkmanship despite the "gravest of cross-border provocations".

"There is a greater understanding of the compulsions behind our nuclear tests and a realisation that a secure and stable India will be an asset to the emerging world order," Mr. Sinha said.

"Non-proliferation itself must discard outmoded concepts and redirect efforts on sources of true proliferation concerns. Its success as a collective effort would obviate (the) need for regime change to ensure non-proliferation."

Without naming Pakistan, he said who was friend and foe in the battle against terrorism was a critical question that needed an answer. "If foes were allowed to masquerade as friends, the forces of global terrorism will never yield."

"The battle against global terror has led to (a) compelling review of classical notions of state sovereignty. The international community has to find accepted ways to deal with states, which are incapable - wilfully or otherwise - to exercise their sovereign responsibilities..."

"Non-democratic regimes, fostering values of intolerance, fundamentalism, extremism and its favourite child - terrorism — are certainly not the building blocks of world order. In fact, they are the biggest roadblocks to its attainment," Mr. Sinha said.

He called for sweeping and comprehensive reform of the international system as represented by the United Nations. "Reconfiguration and reform of the Security Council is essential, not just to reflect changed realities but also to manage the collective security challenges of the future. This needs to be followed by reform of the economic sinews of international relations."

Pointing out that India was today a net creditor to the International Monetary Fund, Mr. Sinha added that New Delhi had informed a large group of nations that we no longer require their bilateral aid.

"If globalisation is the trend, then multilateralism is its life-sustaining mechanism, for no process will survive without a genuine spirit of multilateralism, underlined by the belief that global problems require global solutions globally arrived at. Otherwise, the world faces the risk of repeating the mistakes of the past.

"India believes that it is well-placed to both contribute to globalisation as well as reap its benefits. If in the last decade, we adjusted our internal reforms to conform to the needs of globalisation, the time has come to seek a reform of globalisation itself," Mr. Sinha added.

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