India has called for expediting the efforts to conclude the decolonisation of 17 non-self-governing territories, saying a pragmatic approach towards the "long-drawn process" will lead to fulfilment of legitimate wishes of the people.
Speaking at the 'General Debate on Decolonisation' in the General Assembly's Fourth Committee, Minister in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Deepak Misra stressed that there were still 17 non-self-governing territories, which are in various stages of the decolonisation process on the 'Agenda of the Committee on Decolonisation'.
"We must step up our efforts to reach the conclusion of this long-drawn process," he said on Monday.
He voiced India's commitment to the objective of decolonisation, saying the country offers firm support to further accelerate the process.
Misra noted that when the United Nations was established in 1945, almost a third of the world's population lived in territories that were non-self-governing and were dependent on colonial powers.
"As a country that itself was colonised, India has always been in the forefront of the struggle against colonialism and apartheid since its own independence seven decades ago," he said.
Since the creation of the United Nations, more than 80 former colonies have gained their independence and joined the world body.
Sustained collective efforts by the UN membership has today led to fewer than two million people living in non-self-governing territories, according to UN documentation.
However, even after seven decades, the process of decolonisation that began with India's own independence still remains unfinished.
In 2011 the General Assembly had to proclaim the current decade 2011-2020 as the 'Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism', which is now coming close to conclusion.
Misra said that in this inter-connected world, India believes that pursuing a pragmatic approach towards decolonisation would surely lead to fulfilment of legitimate wishes of the people of non-self governing territories.
"The complex challenges facing the present world can only be met by coordinating our responses in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.
"We must prioritise increased cooperation with international agencies and actors and channelise resources for the 17 Non-Self Governing Territories," he said.
Misra said that this would help enable these territories to build capacities in their quest towards their long cherished goals.