The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee delivered today (November 28, 2016) in New Delhi the opening address at an international conference organized to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said India has the potential to emerge as a leading seat for international dispute resolution. He said while India has had a long history of peaceful resolution of disputes from the Panchayat system onwards to several enactments concerning arbitration prior to Independence, the year 1996 marked a watershed in the development and modernization of arbitration in India. Critical amendments were made to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act to ensure timely and just resolution of arbitral disputes. India last month launched a National Initiative towards strengthening Arbitration and Conciliation. The Prime Minister has also declared that an enabling alternate dispute resolution ecosystem is a national priority for India and that we need to promote India globally as an arbitration hub. The President expressed confidence that the deliberations in the Conference would explore ways and means of fostering a healthy and sustainable culture of international arbitration and conciliation.
The President said India is delighted to host the golden jubilee celebrations of UNCITRAL as part of our commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations and the evolution of its specialized programmes and agencies. It is a glowing testament to India’s commitment to the rule of law that India is only one of eight countries that has been a member of UNCITRAL from its inception, and has recently been re-elected for a term of six years. India recognizes that the impact of UNCITRAL has been far beyond mere facilitation of international trade. Its exemplary work over the years has provided significant thought leadership that has inspired transformation of several domestic legal regimes to facilitate both domestic and transnational commerce and trade.