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British Prime Minister Calls for UN and World Bank Reform


The British prime minister has wrapped up a two-day visit to India with a call for sweeping reform of international institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the British leader's visit to India is part of efforts to build closer economic and bilateral ties with India.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says global bodies established after the World War II should begin to reflect the concerns of a "new global society", and take account of the rise of Asia.

The British leader spoke in New Delhi, where he traveled after meeting Chinese leaders last week. In the Indian capital, he outlined what kind of reform he wants for institutions like the United Nations.

"To convert them into real change in the months and years ahead, to create a new International Monetary Fund for the modern world, to create a new World Bank that can meet the environmental challenges as well as the development challenges, to create a new United Nations that can meet the challenges of rebuilding where there are conflicts and where there are fragile states in need of international assistance and support," said Brown.

The British leader wants the World Bank to create a multi-billion dollar fund to tackle climate change and finance low-carbon investment. He wants the IMF to be at the heart of a global early warning system against financial turbulence. He also wants the creation of a new international reaction force to help rebuild "failed states" that harbor terrorism.

Mr. Brown reiterated Britain's support for India's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. He said it is important to recognize what he called "the biggest shift in the balance of economic power in the world in two centuries" - in other words the rise of Asian economies like India and China.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh echoed Mr. Brown's call for reform of international institutions after talks with his counterpart.

"I think there is today a broad agreement that international institutions, if they have to be credible in terms of their abilities to grapple with contemporary challenges, they cannot ignore countries like India and China," said Singh.

The British Prime Minister stressed that Britain now shares what he called a "partnership of equals" with India and referred to their common commitment to values such as democracy, human rights, and free markets.

Mr. Brown's visit also focused on drumming up support for closer economic ties with India whose emerging economy is attracting global attention. He hoped that $20 billion worth of commercial deals being negotiated between the two countries will be signed in the coming months.