India to do more to advance peace, security

New Delhi: Describing India as a "regional and global force", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today asked it to "do even more" in advancing peace and security in the region while tackling human rights challenges through legislation and other means.

He also hoped that India would find a way to build and strengthen partnerships of common ground with its neighbours without naming any specific country.

Addressing a gathering after being conferred Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Jamia Millia Islamia, he said it was imperative for India to tackle its own human rights challenge through legislation, policy and action to protect citizens regardless of gender, identity or social origin.

"I believe India will also find the way to build and strengthen partnerships of common ground with your neighbours. I know there are many challenges, but I see a future of steadily warmer ties built on a shared heritage and a common future," he said in his 20-minute speech.

Calling himself a "student of India", Ban lauded the country`s rise as a economic power and asked it to make more efforts to eradicate maternal mortality rate and reduce the number of children dying due to preventable diseases.

As the world looks ahead, Ban said he would encourage India as a "regional and global force" to do "even more" in advancing peace and security, in sharing its experiences and in deepening south-south cooperation.

In his speech which began with a `Namaste` and ended with "Dhanyavad`, Ban quoted Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore to drive home his point that India has to play a larger role in the 21st century.

Noting that tolerance is being tested here and around the world, Ban said it is crucial for India to pass those tests not only for the country but for the world in which the country`s profile is so distinct and admired.