India’s non-permanent membership gives much needed balance to UNSC in 2021


As India began its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in January 2021, New Delhi’s presence at the horseshoe table provided the “much needed” balance to a time when the world’s powerful body organ grapples with major geopolitical crises, including in war-torn Afghanistan.

When India took a seat on the Council of 15 Nations earlier this year, the world was still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged nations and slaughtered economies. Just as economies and nations began to open up, the lightning-speed spread of the Omicron variant across the world gave more cause for concern.

“I am deeply concerned. If things don’t improve – and improve quickly – we will face even more difficult times. COVID-19 will not go away. It is becoming clear that vaccines alone will not be able to do so. not eradicate the pandemic, “said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. said recently at his year-end press conference.

“Vaccines prevent hospitalization and death for the majority of those who receive them and slow the spread. But the transmissions show no signs of slackening. This is due to vaccine inequity, reluctance and complacency, he said.

As India wrapped up the first year of its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member, the year saw New Delhi provide the “much needed” balance vis-à-vis the five permanent members of the powerful organ of Nations. United and their inter-se cracks. . New Delhi has also been the bridge to ensure that the Council’s polarization does not affect its ability to take a well-considered point of view.

In his address to the 76th high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, which resumed in a physical format after going virtual last year due to Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “regressive thinking” countries which use terrorism as a “political tool” must understand that it is an equally great threat to them too, in a veiled attack on Pakistan which is often accused by its neighbors of providing havens for terrorists.

He also called for ensuring that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests.

“It is very important to ensure that Afghan soil is not used to spread terrorism and terrorist attacks,” he said.

Modi also said that when the right job isn’t done at the right time, time itself destroys the success of that job.

“If the United Nations is to remain relevant, it must improve its efficiency, increase its reliability,” he said, adding that a number of questions are being raised at the UN today.

“We have seen this during the climate crisis and Covid. The ongoing proxy warfare in many parts of the world – terrorism and the crisis in Afghanistan have deepened these questions.

He made a clear call to “constantly strengthen the United Nations for the protection of world order, world laws and world values.”

When India assumed the rotating presidency of the Council on August 1, few expected the dismantling of Afghanistan, which fell to the Taliban on August 15, leaving the nations of the region and the world worried. of the fate of war. country torn apart and raising fears that a takeover by the Taliban will erase the gains of the last two decades in terms of human rights.

“We are in the Security Council at a very important time when we are not only grappling with the unprecedented COVID pandemic, but also facing cracks, both within the Security Council and outside, that must be addressed. met by greater collective rather than individual action. initiatives, the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Ambassador, TS Tirumurti, told PTI.

A country the size of India with its independent foreign policy has been a welcome entrant to the UN Security Council, providing the “much needed” balance vis-à-vis the five permanent members of the powerful body of the United Nations. UN and their inter-se cracks, he said. had said before his presidency of the Council in August.

India said that as Afghanistan’s neighbor, the situation in the country is of great concern to it and hoped that there is an inclusive waiver, which represents all sections of Afghan society, stressing that a broader representation ”would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy.

It was under the Indian presidency of the Council that the body of 15 countries adopted an important resolution demanding that the territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten a country or harbor terrorists and that it expects to do so. that the Taliban “adhere” to their commitments regarding the safe and orderly departure from the country of Afghans and all foreign nationals.

It was the first resolution adopted by the powerful Council on the situation in Afghanistan after the capture of Kabul by the Taliban and came on the penultimate day of India’s presidency of the Security Council in August.

Tirumurti, in an explanation of vote in favor of a UN Security Council resolution granting sanctions waiver for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, reminded the Council that while the situation in Afghanistan is With this change, the expectations of the international community vis-à-vis Afghanistan were clearly defined in Security Council resolution 2593.

The UN Security Council, under Indian presidency, also unanimously adopted two important outcome documents on the issue of peacekeeping, with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar stressing that India believes in the necessity to “speak the word” about the safety and security of UN peacekeepers.

Jaishankar, as President of the Security Council in August, hosted an open debate on peacekeeping under the theme of protecting protectors.

During the meeting, a resolution on accountability for crimes against UN peacekeepers as well as a presidential statement on technology for peacekeeping, the first document of the Security Council of the United Nations UN on this subject, were adopted.

The resolution on accountability for crimes against UN peacekeepers, drafted by India, was co-sponsored by all members of the Security Council and a total of over 80 UN member states, signifying support from the international community to the issue of peacekeeping, which India had highlighted as one of the priority areas during its presidency of the 15-nation body.

On this occasion, India, in coordination with the UN, also announced the deployment of the UNITE Aware platform, which Jaishankar says is an initiative based on the hope that a peacekeeping operation whole can be visualized, coordinated and monitored in real time. .

In August, the India-led UNSC underscored the primacy of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including combating ocean activities. illegal at sea, sending a strong message to China.

In the Presidential Declaration (PRST), adopted unanimously by the Security Council, reaffirmed that “international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of ​​December 10, 1982 ( UNCLOS), defines the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including the fight against illicit activities at sea. ”

This is very important because it is the very first outcome document of the United Nations Security Council on the issue of maritime safety. Also for the first time in the PRST, there are references to UNCLOS, a convention to which China has longstanding reservations and objections.

In 2016, an international tribunal ruled against China’s disputed South China Sea rights claims. Beijing rejected the ruling that favored the Philippines and said it would not be bound by it.

Modi also became the first Indian Prime Minister to chair a UN Security Council public debate while chairing the high-level session on Strengthening Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation ‘on August 9. .

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)


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