12th Plenary Meeting, 26th September, 1986
Speech by Mr. P. Shiv Shanker
At the outset, Sir, I extend to you once again the felicitations of my
your assumption of the presidency of the forty-first session of the
Assembly. It is a matter of immense pleasure for me and the rest of my
that a distinguished diplomat from a close and friendly neighbour country
elected to that high office. You bring to your position rich and varied
We are confident that you will guide the deliberations of this Assembly
I also take this opportunity to express our appreciation to your
Dime de Pinies, for his skilful leadership during the deliberations of the
session of the General Assembly.
I should like to convey our greetings to the Secretary-General, whom we
to see once again actively discharging his many onerous responsibilities,
that our Organization will continue to have the benefit of his experience
guidance for many years to come.
In the past year the United Nations-indeed the entire multilateral system
subjected to severe strain and challenge. I am glad that, as he states in
on the work of the Organization, the Secretary-General has found notable
unanimity in the recognition of the continuing validity of the principles
United Nations Charter and the need to strengthen the United Nations so
may better meet the needs of the future. India is a founder Member and its
allegiance to the Organization and commitment to the principles of the
remain firm and unswerving.
As all of us are aware, the United Nations came into being in the wake of
unparalleled death and destruction. The founding of the United Nations
the hopes and aspirations of humankind, which saw the need for a more
world order. That vision is even more relevant today.
The international situation remains tense. The nuclear arms race and its
into outer space, conflicts around the world and the world economic crisis
endanger peace and international security. Nuclear weapons no longer
only States and nations, they threaten the very survival of man. In her
the seventh summit of non-aligned Heads of State or Government, in New
March 1983, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi warned that, "Never before
has our earth
faced so much death and danger. The destructive power contained in nuclear
stockpiles can kill human life, indeed all life, many times over and might
prevent its reappearance for ages to come." (A/38/132, p. 146).
What is at stake is civilization itself.
Last year, at the Geneva summit, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the
States declared that a nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought.
upon those two nations, which bear the major responsibility with regard to
disarmament, to reinvigorate their dialogue and take the logical follow-up
that assertion. We are glad that after a period of anxiety the two
to have resumed their efforts to make progress in this vital field. Their
will have consequences not only for their own peoples but for humanity as
whole. We trust that at their next meeting President Reagan and General
Secretary Gorbachev will reach important and meaningful agreements.
Other nuclear-weapon States must not shirk their responsibility either. A
on their part in favour of nuclear disarmament could only have a positive
They should no longer take shelter behind the position that they will
disarm only if
the two super- Powers do.
The desire for peace is universal. There is increasing articulation of
around the world, including in nuclear-weapon States, in legislatures and
deliberative bodies, in universities and peace movements, among scientists
professionals- indeed, among all citizens.
Early this month, Heads of State or Government assembled at Harare for the
eighth summit of non-aligned nations appealed to the two most powerful
nuclear-weapon States to arrest the trend towards confrontation and
Earlier, the leaders participating in the six-nation, five-continent peace
urged an immediate moratorium on nuclear tests and offered a concrete
programme of verification. A large number of Governments have welcomed
many Parliaments have expressed enthusiasm and support. We welcome the
positive response of the Soviet Union to the appeal by the Six in the
Declaration by extending its unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing for
time now until January 1987. We hope the United States will respond
The United Nations has a unique role to play in all issues of disarmament.
Regrettably, the negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament have failed
bring about any positive steps on the vital issues of a nuclear test ban,
cessation of the nuclear arms race, nuclear disarmament and the prevention
nuclear war. It is thus more urgently necessary for the General Assembly
forward new ideas and mobilize support for disarmament measures.
Many issues that were before the United Nations at the time of its
continue to linger on its agenda. Our pride in the freedom achieved by
dependent peoples is abridged by the failure to remove the last vestiges
colonialism in Africa and the still unfulfilled promise of a homeland for
Last week we focused on Namibia at a special session of the General
Namibia, which is solely the responsibility of the United Nations, mirrors
situation where every value enshrined in the Charter stands challenged.
towards freedom there have been continually frustrated by those who had
concurred in the plan for independence of Namibia charted in Security
resolution 435 (1978). This is the bitter twist of irony. Necessary
by the Security Council has received support from all Members except those
have direct commercial stakes in the area and that also have the power to
the collective will with their veto. It is not Namibia that is isolated;
it is those who
have sought to isolate Namibia that are.
In South Africa apartheid survives and is the root cause of violence and
in the region. Every initiative for a peaceful resolution has been
rejected by the
Pretoria regime. Since the last session of the General Assembly a major
made by the Commonwealth to bring about a dialogue between the minority
rule and the majority who are ruled in South Africa. An eminent Persons
comprising distinguished personalities from seven Commonwealth countries
South Africa for this purpose. However, the authorities in Pretoria live
in a world
all their own. Every meaningful proposal was spurned. The international
community has no option but to impose comprehensive and mandatory
against South Africa in accordance with Chapter VII of the United Nations
as the only peaceful means to compel the South African regime to dismantle
apartheid. The alternative would be too ghastly to contemplate.
South Africa cannot withstand the tide of history. The abhorrent system of
apartheid will collapse. In the words of Prime Minister Raiiv Gandhi:
"Racism cannot last. People's aspirations cannot be engaged in a
Mandela and his people will be free".
The presence of great Powers continues to increase in the Indian Ocean.
of command structures and other forms of outside military presence and
negate the decision of the General Assembly to declare the Indian Ocean as
of peace. The convening of the Conference on the Indian Ocean at Colombo
been inordinately delayed because of the unhelpful attitude adopted by
Non-Aligned Movement has suggested 1988 as a finite target at which we
and we hope the early convening of the Conference no longer remains an
We remain deeply concerned over the situation in West Asia. The people of
Palestine continue to languish without a homeland of their own. Israel's
defiance of the will of the international community, the consolidation of
stranglehold over the occupied territories: all constitute sad chapters in
seemingly endless tragedy.
We call for the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the
Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including
We support the exercise of the right by the people of Palestine, under the
leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), to
and the establishment of an independent sovereign state in Palestine. The
all states in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized
including the independent State of Palestine, must be assured.
We would like to underscore once again the importance of the early
the International Conference on the Middle East in accordance with General
Assembly resolution 38/58 C; that would constitute a major contribution by
United Nations towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and
solution to the Arab-lsraeli conflict.
The continuing conflict between Iran and Iraq causes us deep concern and
Both these nations are heirs to great and proud civilisations. Both are
with the riches of nature and talented peoples. Yet for six long years
destruction have prevented the channeling of their resources to productive
activities. As a country which has friendly ties with both, we have had
continue to have close consultations with them to bring this tragic
conflict to an
Of late, we have seen a disturbing trend of violation of the sovereignty
territorial integrity of States by powerful nations. Nicaragua has the
right to follow
its national policies without outside intimidation or interference. All
must be settled through negotiations. We have extended our full support to
Contadora process. Whether in Central America and the Caribbean or in the
Mediterranean, the security and independence of non-aligned countries must
respected. No nation has the right to take the law into its own hands.
domination must give way to greater understanding and respect for the
of the States.
Cyprus remains divided, with part of its territory under foreign
reiterate our solidarity with its people and reaffirm our support for the
and territorial integrity of a non-aligned and unified Republic. We have
efforts made by the Secretary-General to bring a Satisfactory resolution
In relation to Afghanistan and South-West Asia, I reiterate that the
be resolved only through an overall political settlement based on the
out in the New Delhi Declaration. We support the efforts of the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General.
The differences in South-East Asia call for a political solution. There
can be no
military solution. What is needed is a balanced approach that takes into
security and other considerations of all the countries in the region and
outside interference. We urge all States in the region to undertake a
resolve the differences and establish durable peace.
The menace of terrorism is spreading. Assassinations, hijackings, bombings
meant the death of hundreds of men, women and children and have resulted
loss of innocent lives, the mindless destruction of property and the
fundamental freedoms. I wish to reiterate the total opposition of my
all acts of terrorism, whether committed by individuals, groups or States.
countries must co-operate in fighting this common scourge within the
of internationally accepted norms.
At the same time, we support the struggle of people under colonial and
regimes and all forms of foreign domination and occupation and of the
liberation movements against their oppressors. Their struggle is
must not be confused with terrorism.
The process of regional co-operation in South Asia, with which you, Mr.
have such a close personal involvement, culminated in the formation of the
Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SMRC). The seven nations of
region, which face similar problems, are determined to nurture and foster
process of regional co- operation. SMRC will provide a vehicle for this
India will have the privilege to serve as host to the second summit of
Tensions and instability can arise also from the unsatisfactory state of
economy. The economic situation continues to cause concern and is fraught
uncertainties which carry grave implications for the future. Expansion of
output and trade has slowed considerably, and developing countries in
continue to be confronted with exceptionally difficult circumstances.
of international co-operation which might have helped to mitigate their
have been rendered largely ineffective. The international economic system
remains inherently iniquitous.
The developing countries have been urged to undertake drastic adjustments
face of an unhelpful international economic environment. Their efforts are
hampered by intensified protectionist barriers, sharply declining prices
commodity exports and an increasingly intolerable debt burden. The
adjustment measures demanded of them has not only affected development
prospects but has in many cases led to social and political tensions and
Such adjustment to an adverse environment, which the developing countries
had no hand in shaping, really means accommodation by them to the policies
national interests of developed countries. There is thus a real danger
pressure may lead to an infringement of the economic sovereignty and be
to the political stability of developing countries. While it is obviously
the developing countries to implement economic policies which will restore
momentum to their economic growth, they must resolutely reject so-called
solutions which would have the effect of undermining stable, democratic
Along with the economic slow-down-that has characterised the first half of
decade, there has been a marked change in the attitude of the developed
countries, to the detriment of the interests of the developing countries.
attitude can be described as apathy with regard to the fundamental
poverty and development. It is, therefore, necessary to restate the basic
that has guided the international community in the post-war period;
the development problem is a common concern or mankind and requires the
co-operation of rich and poor nations alike. A retreat from that consensus
from the responsibilities associated with it will lead to an even deeper
crisis. Enlightened co-operation in our interdependent world is no longer
of choice but a necessity.
The uncertainties of today can be turned into the opportunities of
would, however, require breathing new life into mechanisms and modalities
economic co-operation. On their part, the developing countries are ready
most pragmatic and constructive spirit to resume such a dialogue. In this
we have noted with interest the proposal of the Secretary-General to
ministerial-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council to reach an
agreement on the issues which need to be addressed most urgently. We are
to explore all avenues which could lead to a resumption of meaningful
and co-operation in the areas of vital economic concern.
The major economic imbalances which exists in the world economy also
choices before us. If traditional approaches are continued, the vast
the corresponding deficits which are accumulating in some parts of the
have a dangerous destabilising effect. Alternatively, with bold and
measure, they could be used to expand the productive capacity and the
vast markets of the developing countries, which could lead to a quantum
in trade and growth rates around the globe. Low inflation rates and the
which industrial countries derive from the low commodity and energy prices
make it easier for them to undertake such measures. It is our firm belief
sustained growth in the world economy for the benefit of all would not be
without a reactivation of the development momentum of developing
is not sufficient merely to promote growth in the developed countries. Any
significant improvement in the material conditions of life - which is the
fundamental purpose of development - cannot come about entirely through
trickle down effect of growth in industrial countries. We have to face the
development issue squarely and evolve co-operative action to deal with it.
The major imbalances in the world economy, the mounting burdens of
debt, the intensifying protectionism and the falling commodity prices
deeper structural deficiencies in the international economic order which
be urgently addressed. In this regard, we support the proposal made by the
of 24 in Washington to constitute a representative committee of ministers
examine further the different proposals for monetary improvement and
Such an examination could be an important preparatory process leading
the convening of an international conference on money and finance for
development. The forthcoming meeting of the United Nations Conference on
and Development (UNCTAD) would also provide an important opportunity to
consider in an integrated and comprehensive manner the interrelated areas
money, finance, trade and development; and we would urge all countries to
co-operate fully in reaching an early agreement on the agenda and other
related to it. It is particularly important that the role and mandate of
dealing with trade and development policies should be pursued and further
In Punta del Este last week agreement was reached on the launching of a
round of multilateral trade negotiations to be called the Uruguay Round.
that these negotiations will result in the removal of protectionist
the export products of developing countries.
One of the most critical issues as regards the development problem in the
ahead was highlighted by the 1986 report of the United Nations Committee
Development Planning, namely, that developing countries face a serious
gap over the next decade and that, without the restoration of development
finance, prospects for growth would remain negligible and unable to
minimum aspirations for employment creation and higher living standards.
fully support the proposal of the eminent persons comprising the Committee
Development Planning for the doubling of development finance to provide an
additional $25 billion per year, which they have contended is the minimum
necessary condition for restoring moderate sustained growth in the
The General Assembly has decided to put on its agenda a separate item
"External debt crisis and development". This is an appropriate
recognition of the
severity of the debt and development crisis. We believe that in our search
solution to this important issue measures to prevent the recurrence and
this problem should form an important element.
The developing countries and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries remain
deeply concerned about the critical economic situation in Africa. Within
capacities, the developing countries, including India, are doing their
help the African countries overcome the critical situation. On earlier
delegation has outlined the concrete steps that we have taken. These are
continued and further expanded. In the context of the United Nations
of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990, adopted
the General Assembly at its thirteenth special session, we shall continue
to do our
utmost to support the efforts of the African countries in areas where the
capabilities that we have acquired in our development experience have
We are concerned that the current financial crisis facing the United
remains acute, despite the efforts made by many Member States to expedite
payments. Thus, the United Nations faces a situation in which it will not
be able to
carry out the work programme mandated by its legislative bodies. The
above all a political crisis, arising from disregard for obligations
flowing from the
Charter and from lack of agreement among Member States on how to finance
Organization and its activities. We hope that wisdom will prevail and that
consensus will be achieved.
At the same time, it is also necessary to pay due heed to economies which
achieved without undermining the Organization itself. In that context, we
our appreciation of the work done by the Group of High-level
Experts to Review the Efficiency of the Administrative and Financial
the United Nations. The United Nations must continue to play its vital
role in the
maintenance of international peace and security and in the promotion of
development and international co-operation. We pledge our full
In his very first address to the General Assembly Jawaharlal Nehru warned
was becoming increasingly apparent that if we did not move with speed
world order, we should be left with no order in the world.
de Cuellar in his first report to the General Assembly similarly warned of
approach of a "new international anarchy" (A/37/1, p. 1). Nearly
40 years separate
us from Jawaharlal Nehru's warning; only four years from the caution
us by the Secretary-General. But their strength and relevance endure. A
world order can only be one which is founded on ethics and international
Political stratagems divorced from morality may hold out the promise of
short-term advantage, but they cannot provide the basis of any enduring
settlement. The durable world order to which we aspire must be based on
equity and mutual advantage. That is the goal to which the United Nations
countries individually must dedicate themselves.
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