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Expel military regimes, India tells
CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST TERRORISM
Expel military regimes, India tells NAM
By K.V. Krishnaswamy
>From the Hindu (New Delhi)
April 10, 2000
CARTAGENA (Colombia), APRIL 9. India today proposed two bench-marks
the Non- Aligned Movement, taking its democracy theme and campaign
against the scourge of terrorism step further at the NAM Foreign
Ministers' meeting and indirectly stepping up pressure on the
regime of General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan on both counts.
In perhaps the most forceful advocacy of global action against
terrorism, the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, told a
ministerial meeting of the movement that terrorism was "the very
antithesis" of what the NAM represented and stood for. It is a
menace", a violation of the basic precepts of democracy, "a crime
against humanity and "the most flagrant violation of basic human
rights," he said in a speech marked for its stridency.
Mr. Singh was equally forthright in his comments on the need for
to commit itself "uncompromisingly to the rules of democracy. The
of law and the preservation of fundamental rights and liberties."
other words, the NAM like the Commonwealth must expel
where democratic governments have been overthrown.
Official spokesmen insisted that these formulations were not
Pakistan, though they would indeed fit the Musharraf regime to a T.
recalled the initiative India had taken last year at the United
for a global convention against the menace. And, citing and
the action of the Organisation of African Unity which, mush like
Commonwealth, has decreed that no ruler who had usurped power would
allowed to attend its summits, Mr. Singh said the NAM too should
similar democracy benchmarks for its members.
"In our own interests, we need to agree on some common values," he
the on-going two day meeting during the plenary session. "All of us
tarred with the same brush when, because of isolated lapses,
countries are seen as states where governance is weak, abusive or
corruption-ridden." It was time the movement committed itself to
rules of democracy just as the OAU had done.
The suggestion was clear that countries where democracy was
would face automatic expulsion. Under the present membership, three
countries would incur disqualification under this count: Ivory
Myanmar and Pakistan ? all of which have seen their governments
overthrown by the military.
The spokesmen defended the reference to the OAU and suggested that
NAM, a much larger group, should reflect the evolving
political culture in the post-Cold War world. Asked about possible
support among the disparate NAM grouping for such a progressive
initiative, they said, "we are hopeful that support will be greater
Mr. Singh's prescription for rebuilding the unity and solidarity of
had three inputs. The third was the democracy pledge. His first
recommendation was that the developing nations should ensure their
independence of action. "We need to set the agenda for ourselves
UN, not let others set it for us-?not let fears or pressures divide
Strongly urging collective action to safeguard the interests and
concerns of developing nations, he said, "we need to ensure that
decisions affecting us are taken with our active and effective
A final recommendation was for the movement to focus on the issues
united the NAM rather then let the divisive ones distract
Mr. Singh's speech, which must have been eagerly awaited by the NAM
member-countries, came during the afternoon session on the
day. Tomorrow, in the forenoon of the concluding day, his Pakistani
counterpart, Mr. Abdus Sattar, will address the plenary and
answer some of the issues he has raised.
After his non-meeting with Mr. Sattar on the plane on Thursday on
way to the NAM ministerial meeting. Mr. Singh today had a series of
bilateral meetings with leader of other delegations.