India will organize meetings focused on key areas of maritime security, peacekeeping and counter-terrorism
NEW DELHI :
India is set to focus attention on three major areas—maritime security, peacekeeping and counter-terrorism, as it assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August on Sunday.
“As we take over UNSC Presidency for August, look forward to working productively with other members. India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law," Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar said in a Twitter post on Sunday.
India joined the UNSC in January 2021 for a two year term as one of the 10 rotating non permanent members.
As part of its new role as president of the UNSC that all 15 members get in rotation, India will decide the agenda of the UN’s highest decision making body whose resolutions and directives are binding on all member states. India will also coordinate important meetings on a range of issues during August.
“The Security Council will also have on its agenda several important meetings including Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and the Middle East. Security Council will also be adopting important resolutions on Somalia, Mali, and UN Interim Force in Lebanon," T.S. Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, said in a video message on Saturday.
“It is a singular honour for us to be presiding over the Security Council the same month when we are celebrating our 75th Independence Day," Tirumurti said. Referring to the close coordination with UNSC permanent member France during the month of July, Tirumurti said, “India and France enjoy historical and close relations. I thank France for all the support which they’ve given us during our stint in the Security Council."
Apart from meeting on maritime security, peacekeeping and counter-terrorism, India will also be organizing an event in memory of peacekeepers. India along with Pakistan and Bangladesh is one of the top contributors to UN peacekeeping operations with men and material.
“A first in the making… With India as President of @UN Security Council in August, an Indian Prime Minister may perhaps preside, albeit virtually, a Council meeting for 1st time on 9 August 2021," India’s former permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said in a Twitter post on Sunday.
Ahead of India assuming presidency of the UNSC, Pakistan on Saturday said it hoped that New Delhi would follow international rules and norms. “We hope that India will abide by the relevant rules and norms governing the conduct of the Security Council Presidency," Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson said.
India has been campaigning for a permanent seat at the UNSC along with Germany, Japan and Brazil for many years. In recent years, New Delhi has made the theme of “reformed multilateralism" central to its diplomacy—calling the UN structure that came into existence in the immediate aftermath of World War 2 “anachronistic" and in need of urgent change. While the US, France, Britain and Russia are not averse to India joining the UNSC as a permanent member, China has been opposed it. This is seen as due to Beijing’s close ties with India’s arch rival Pakistan. China has also previously indicated that it may drop opposition to India joining the UNSC as a permanent member if it calls off cooperation with Japan to get onto the UN high table.
There is also reportedly no unanimity among the permanent veto wielding five – US,UK, France, Russia and China – to share its veto powers with any new members for fears of diluting the influence and authority they currently wield.