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Terrorism & Security

Gordon Brown calls for greater voice for India in international organizations

The British prime minister wants India to join the Financial Action Task Force, which targets terrorist financing. He also backed a permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council.

By Julien Barnes-Dacey / January 21, 2008

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Presidential Palace. As part of a two-day trip to the capital, Mr. Brown delivered a keynote speech calling on India for greater representation on security matters as part of a 'new global society.'

Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on a two-day trip to the Indian capital, New Delhi, delivered a keynote foreign policy speech calling for greater Indian representation, particularly on security matters, as part of a "new global society."

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Much of Mr. Brown's focus during his meetings with government officials was on strengthening antiterrorism measures, Reuters reported.

The prime minister called on India to join the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based international body fighting terrorist financing and money laundering. Brown said Britain wanted to provide India with better support for security at airports and ports, as well as increase ties with its security services.

"What I would like to see is greater contact between our two countries in winning the battle of hearts and minds, isolating extremist ideologues who try to poison young people," Brown said.

Britain is home to more than 1.5 million people of Indian origin, descendants of immigrants who came to the country after World War II to fill the gap in the labor market for unskilled workers.

In recent years, disenchantment and Islamic radicalization has risen among a small minority of the British Asian community, as demonstrated by the London bombings of July 7, 2005, which were carried out by Britons of Asian descent. Though the bombers grew up in England, the event led to calls for increasing increased security ties with South Asian countries with which many British Asians still maintain links.

During his widely reported visit, Brown called for fundamental reform of international organizations including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, saying that new global powers like India deserved a more powerful say. The move is likely to rankle neighboring Pakistan.

"We can and must do more to make our global institutions more representative and I support India's bid for a permanent place, with others, on an expanded UN Security Council," Brown told an audience of Indian business leaders.

Calling the Asian economic boom, "the biggest shift in the balance of economic power in the world in two centuries," Brown said international organizations had to be "radically reformed to fit our world of globalization: 200 states, an emerging single marketplace, unprecedented individual autonomy, and the increasing power of informal networks."

In India, the call for greater Indian sway was well received, drawing immediate applause among the gathered audience. The Times of India called it Brown's big foreign-policy moment."

India has been pushing for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council for several years.

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