UN chief says India should build ties with neighbours
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in New Delhi that despite the challenges involved he trusted India to build and strengthen partnerships with her neighbours and saw a "future of steadily warmer ties" in this region.
"I believe India will also find the way to build and strengthen partnerships of common ground with your neighbours. I know there are many challenges, but I see a future of steadily warmer ties built on a shared heritage and a common future," said Ban Ki-moon who was on Friday conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at Jamia Millia Islamia here. He did not name Pakistan or any other country.
He said he saw India as a "regional and global force" and would like to encourage it to advance causes of peace and security and "deepening South-South cooperation." Admiring the country for its contribution to the UN peacekeeping force, Ban Ki-moon said, "As the world's third largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping - you are the backbone of our efforts to prevent further conflict and keep peace worldwide." "But beyond that, something else stands out... India is a union of cultures... religions... languages... all coming together within the fabric of tolerance, understanding and collaboration."
Ban Ki-moon is on a three-day visit to India. The UN secretary general also lauded the 92-year-old varsity: "Jamia Millia Islamia University richly encapsulates the best of the Indian Muslim tradition reflecting a true cosmopolitan creed."
The eighth secretary-general of the United Nations was given the Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) degree at an impressive ceremony at the M.A. Ansari Auditorium by Chancellor M.A. Zaki and Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung for his contribution to development and world peace. The event was attended by his wife, the academic community and diplomats. Jung, reading out the citation, described Ban Ki-Moon as "one of the most acclaimed figures of our times..."
Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has appealed to the UN Secretary General to persuade India to resolve the Kashmir issue. "United Nations came into being for resolving disputes but it has so far not succeeded in resolving the long pending Kashmir issue. We appeal that the Secretary General should persuade India to give up its rigid stand and cooperate in finding a durable solution," Geelani said in a statement. Geelani said besides creating hardships for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the delay in resolution was a threat to the peace in South Asian region. "India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers and, due to Kashmir dispute, are engaged in an arms race," he said.
Terrorism, alarming security situation in Afghanistan, worrisome situation in Syria and disputes between Sudan and South Sudan were some of the key international issues discussed between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Indian leadership here with both wanting to enhance their cooperation on these issues.
He held a series of meetings with leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. During the meeting, Krishna also said the fight against piracy and international cooperation in counter-terrorism are global challenges to which India attaches priority, official spokesperson in the MEA Syed Akbaruddin said.
A group of Sikhs on Friday held a protest outside Jamia Milia Islamia University, where UN chief Ban Ki-moon received a honorary doctorate, against his talks with leaders of the Congress. Holding placards against the Congress, the protesters alleged that the perpetrators of anti-Sikh riots have not been punished.
On Saturday, the UN chief left for Mumbai to inspect some UN development projects in the city.
- Asian Tribune -