Baku (Azerbaijan): India on Wednesday described terrorism as the "single biggest threat" not only to international peace and security, but also to development and said the world community cannot afford selective approaches or double standards in its fight against this menace.
The growing linkages between terror groups and cross-border operations including terror financing networks, and the spread of hateful ideologies through modern communication technologies have left no country untouched by this scourge, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, without naming any country.
"No cause justifies the indiscriminate killing of innocents as a means of achieving a political goal," Jaishankar said while addressing the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting here.
He said terrorism is the single biggest threat not only to international peace and security, but also to development.
"Our collective actions must match our words. Our fight against terrorism has to be fought collectively and across all fronts. The international community cannot afford selective approaches or double standards on this issue," Jaishankar said.
He said the NAM member states must boost their collective efforts for cooperation among them to confront terrorism, including through exchange of information and best practices, preventing misuse of modern technologies, monitoring illicit financial flows and cooperating in investigation and judicial procedures.
India, which accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorist groups who carry out cross border terror attacks - proposed a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in 1996 to further strengthen the existing legal frameworks.
"Two decades on, we have made little progress," Jaishankar said and urged the NAM member states to renew their commitment to finalise the CCIT, and to mobilise the international community towards this goal.
India, as a proud founding member, remains committed to the principles and objectives of the NAM, including its longstanding solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause, he said.
The NAM, which was formed in 1961 at the height of the Cold War as an independent forum of countries that were not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc, now has 120 member countries.
"The scales of global geo-political balance have shifted, and continue to do so, propelled by forces of globalisation and transformational technological progress. Long-held assumption and alignments rooted in the legacies of colonialism and the ideology of the Cold War are making way for new configurations and partnerships," the minister said.
"Climate change, environmental degradation, terrorism, radicalisation, poverty, public health emergencies, humanitarian and natural calamities, cyber security threats, and the serious security implications of frontier technologies are just some of the challenges of this new world," he said.
"These challenges can only be faced together, not when we are divided. It requires collaboration, not coercion. In short, effective multilateralism remains the only answer. And that requires all of us to be truly independent and think for ourselves," he added.
He said that multilateralism is undoubtedly under strain today and it was important that the NAM - that represents two thirds of the world's population - continues to work together and take the lead in building multilateral governance structures that are capable of meeting these challenges.
"We must reform and revitalise the current arrangements and working methods of our Movement, to allow us to pursue a positive and forward looking agenda. At the same time, we must guard against attempts to divide us and to misuse multilateral platforms to further narrow interests," he said.
"A democratic, effective, flexible, credible, transparent and representative, multilateral order - 'reformed multilateralism', if you will - is a 21st century imperative," he said.
Jaishankar also called for early and meaningful reform of the United Nations, and in particular its powerful security council.
"The time has come now to move on to the next phase, and commence text based negotiations - a demand supported by a majority of UN members, including most NAM members. We hope that we will finally see concrete reform of the UN in its 75th anniversary year," he said.
Noting that digital and data-based technologies, Artificial Intelligence, and Industry 4.0 hold immense promise for the prosperity and quality of life of common people, he said that at the same time, these present new challenges in the form of implications for the future of work, threats to privacy, cyber crime and data theft.
"The only way to address these issues, which cut across borders, is to act together," he asserted.
The minister also invited NAM partners to join India in its initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.