India completes UNSC term turning spotlight on terrorism, reforms

Indian Flag [Image for representational purpose only]
Indian Flag [Image for representational purpose only]File/ GK

United Nations: India has capped its two-year term on the Security Council by turning the spotlight on its two issues of paramount interest, fighting terrorism and reforming the world organisation.

Assuming the presidency of the Council in the final month of its term as an elected member, India convened a high-level meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on reforming multilateral institutions, especially the Council.

Many of the leaders who participated echoed India’s call for expanding the permanent membership and there was near-unanimity on the urgency for reforms.

The Council also met for a signature event chaired by him on global approaches to counter-terrorism.

Morocco’s Permanent Representative Omar Hilale said that India had attached to counterterrorism “great importance throughout its time on the Council”.

The Council meeting followed a rare special session of the Council’s India-chaired Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) away from the UN headquarters held in Mumbai, where it adopted the Delhi Declaration on fighting terrorists using new technologies.

Even China acknowledged New Delhi’s role with its Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuang saying that the declaration gave “impetus to member states’ efforts in better tackling the new counter-terrorism challenges”.

India’s leadership of the Council was summed up by Russian Mission’s Second Secretary Nadezhda Sokolova who said: “India, as President of the Security Council, has demonstrated a highest standards of multilateral diplomacy and a focus on finding wise and balanced decisions.”

Ruchira Kamboj became India’s Permanent Representative in August succeeding veteran diplomat T.S. Tirumurti, who retired from the foreign service.

She was the first woman to hold the post, tweeting when she took over, “to the girls out there, we all can make it!”.

She also became the first Indian woman to become the President of the Security Council, following in the footsteps of Vijayalakshmi Pandit who had been the president of the General Assembly 69 years ago.

In what seems to be a return to an era of intensified cold war divisions, as India sought a leadership role Jaishankar said that India “really matters more in this polarised world”.

India tried to build on this role by trying to emerge as the “Voice of the Global South”, articulating the economic and political aspirations of the developing countries without shrill rhetoric.

“We are also conscious of the fact that we were also the voice of the Global South during our tenure, highlighting issues of particular importance to the developing world,” Kamboj said.

United Arab Emirates Deputy Permanent Representative Mohamed Abushahab said his country valued India’s consistent advocacy for the Global South.

India raised at the problem of Hinduphobia at the UN which focuses on bias against Islam and Judaism.

Tirumurti told the General Assembly: “It’s time that UN member states condemned hatred against non-Abrahamic religions as well and stop from being selective in combating ‘religiophobias’.”

In a year dominated by Ukraine, India’s membership of the Council put its stand on the Russian invasion under close watch, especially given its historic close defence ties with Moscow and its growing ties with Washington.

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