India essential component of multi-polar world: UN Secretary General

New Delhi: Multilateralism has not been under so much fire as it is today and India will be the essential component if the world has to become multipolar, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.

He called for a global response to climate change and terrorism, which he said were the two biggest challenges the world was facing.

A multilateral approach was needed to meet challenges and threats which were becoming more and more global in nature, Guterres said while delivering a lecture on “Global Challenges, Global Solutions” here.

“But the paradox is that never in recent times was multilateralism under so much fire and never, as in recent times, was a rule-based international community being put under fire,” he said.

He said the world ceased to be bipolar after the end of the Cold War and turned unipolar, but today’s world “is a kind of a chaotic world”.

“The world has to be multipolar and India has a key role to play… No country is better placed for this than India,” Guterres said.

He added that India’s assertiveness on the global platform was a key element.

His remarks assume significance in the face of US President Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and withdrawal of international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, and imposing new trade tariffs on countries like India and China.

Regarding the challenge of climate change, Guterres said India had already been impacted through droughts and floods.

He said if the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, in which India played a key role, were not met, then the world would be in a catastrophic situation.

Stressing on the necessity for solar and wind energy, Guterres said India, despite its problems, had to play a key role in the fight against climate change and to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

India is targeting to generate 175 GW of electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2022, of which 100 GW will be from solar power. It has already achieved 20 GW installed solar power.

Asked about reforms in the UN, Guterres said it cannot happen till there were no reforms in the UN Security Council (UNSC), adding it was for the five permanent members to do so.

India, Japan, Germany and Brazil are seeking permanent membership in an expanded UNSC to reflect the face of today’s world.

Guterres is on a visit to India to take part in a series of events on climate change and Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary celebrations.

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