Dispassionate scrutiny and reform of all multilateral entities needed: EAM Dr S Jaishankar

Asserting that the world stands at a transformative moment, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said that a dispassionate scrutiny and reform of all multilateral entities were needed to make them purpose-built for the current times and representative of this century.

Addressing a virtual ministerial meeting of Alliance for Multilateralism yesterday, Dr Jaishankar said, it is an empirical fact that every process and institution must evolve to meet the needs of its time. He said, no institution, howsoever important, can remain frozen at the moment of its foundation.

The Minister said, this is why India continue to call for reformed multilateralism – one that is relevant for the age in which we live, not when this architecture was erected. He said, our Alliance must stand for a dynamic multilateralism, for a purposeful reform of existing structures, which must continue to serve the international community even more in this complex and uncertain time.

Dr Jaishankar said, the world is facing a two-pronged attack of a pandemic and misinformation going viral. He said, in other words, this is an era of both a health crisis and an infodemic.

The Minister said, the pandemic has devastated the globalised economic system, apart from taking a toll of over 4 lakh lives and it has fundamentally affected the way people live, work, travel and indeed, relate to each other. He said, suspicion of human interaction is fuelled, more often than not, by fake news, wrong information and targetted disinformation.

Dr Jaishankar asserted that the way forward to address both the challenges is similar and said that there is a need to strengthen the belief in scientific approaches. He said, we must set aside politics and focus on facts-whether it is the effort to dispassionately analyse the causes and drivers of the current coronavirus pandemic, or to assess what changes our multilateral health mechanisms need to implement to improve preparations for a future pandemic.

Dr Jaishankar said, the Resolution adopted at the World Health Assembly last month is an opportunity to use facts and science to assess our response to this pandemic and take those lessons to prepare better for the future. The Minister said, as Chair of the WHO Executive Board, India is ready to work towards these goals.

He said, there is a need to restore the faith in meaningful and equal partnerships. Dr Jaishankar said, trust, partnership and cooperation draw people, societies and countries together especially during crises, particularly when fake news and disease engender isolationism and unilateralism. He said, in this context, India is pleased to be part of cross-regional group presenting a Statement on the ongoing ‘Infodemic’ in the context of COVID-19 at the UN.

The “Alliance for Multilateralism” launched by the French and German foreign ministers is an informal network of countries united in their conviction that a rules-based multilateral order is the only reliable guarantee for international stability and peace.

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