President Pranab Mukherjee with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon during a meeting in New Delhi on January 13, 2015 (Press Trust of India)
Amid India's aspiration for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, President Pranab Mukherjee today impressed upon UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to use his leadership to speed up the process of reforms in the world body in this year itself.
During the meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Mr Ban described India as a "critically important global power" and said he was aware of its "aspirations" along with those of many other countries for reform of the UN and their desire to play a leadership role in the UN Security Council.
President Mukherjee said the reforms in the UN are essential to enhance its "credibility" and "legitimacy" so that it represents the geo-political realities of today.
He conveyed to the visiting dignitary that "the UN is in urgent need of reform for its own credibility and legitimacy of its decisions," the President's Press Secretary Venu Rajamony said in a statement.
"Reforms of the United Nations should be advanced at least in the 70th year of the UN. India hopes and counts upon the UN Secretary-General's leadership and persuasive skills to steer the discussions for urgent reform of the UN," the President said. The UN will turn 70 on October 24 this year.
India is an aspirant for permanent membership of the expanded Security Council.
Mr Mukherjee underlined that "The UN should play an effective role in all situations. A reformed and effective UN will be able to respond to the crises afflicting the world in a more decisive manner."
While acknowledging "divergences" on the reforms, he said, however, that the UN was created to iron out these divergences and find solutions acceptable to the large section of the international community.
Mr Ban appreciated India's contribution to the UN and said he always wanted to forge stronger ties with this country.
"The UN Security Council must become effective, representative, democratic and transparent," he said.
Talking about the recent terror attacks in Peshawar and Paris, President Mukherjee said the international community must assert itself and tackle the problem with the UN Secretary General taking the initiative in this regard.
"Terrorism is no longer a debating issue. Terrorists engage in wanton destruction and show no respect for borders or values," he said.
The UN Secretary-General agreed with the views of the President and said the international community should take "firm action" on the matter of terrorism.
"There was huge solidarity expressed by the world after the incident in Paris but committed action is even more important," he said.
President Mukherjee expressed happiness that the international community is working to finalize a set of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and a comprehensive post-2015 development agenda.
He said tackling the issue of global warming or climate change requires both serious national action and genuine international collaboration.
"Despite huge development challenges, India is undertaking ambitious climate actions including through lowering of the energy intensity of its economic growth, increasing energy efficiency across sectors and making greater use of renewable energy."
Pointing out that India became a member of the UN in 1945 even before we attained independence, the President said Indian Armed Forces participate in 10 out of the 16 UN peacekeeping mission with 8000 plus troops and police personnel.
"India is firm in its commitment to the UN Charter and support of the UN system," he said.
The UN Secretary-General expressed appreciation for the contributions of India to peace keeping operations and the promotion of global democracy.
He pointed out that India was the second largest donor to the Democracy Fund, next only to the United States. He also congratulated India for the measures being taken for gender empowerment and appreciated the fact that 25% of the Cabinet were women.