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India does not need to be told what to do on democracy, the country's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, who assumed the Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of December said.

India on Thursday assumed the monthly rotating Presidency of the Security Council, the second time after August 2021 that India is presiding over the Council during its two-year tenure as elected UNSC member. India’s 2021-2022 term on the Council ends on December 31, with Kamboj, India’s first woman Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York sitting in the President’s seat at the powerful horseshoe table for the month.

On the first day of India's presidency, she addressed reporters in the UN headquarters on the monthly programme of work.

"Over the last two years of our membership of the Council, I can say with confidence that we have been shouldering responsibilities well, and making every effort to bridge the different voices within the Council so as to ensure that the Council itself speaks in one voice as far as possible on a variety of issues. We will bring the same spirit to our December presidency," Kamboj said in the UN Headquarters on India's Presidency and the monthly programme of work.

Responding to a question on democracy and freedom of press in India, she said "to that I would like to say that, we don't need to be told what to do on democracy.

"India is perhaps the most ancient civilization in the world as all of you know. In India, democracy had roots going back to 2500 years, we were always a democracy. Coming down to very recent times, we have all the pillars of democracy that are intact - legislature, executive, judiciary, and the fourth estate, the press. And a very vibrant social media. So the country is the world's largest democracy.

"Every five years we conduct the world's largest democratic exercise. Everyone is free to say as they wish and please and that is how our country functions. It's rapidly reforming, transforming, and changing. And the trajectory has been very impressive. And I don't have to say this, you don't have to listen to me. Others are saying this," Kamboj said.

On reformed multilateralism, Kamboj said, "it is very clear that the UN of today is far from reflective of the true diversity" of the UN's wider membership. She said that 22 years after world leaders called for comprehensive UN Security Council reform, " we have not moved an inch and there is even a lack of a negotiating text."

She added that the global development architecture outside the United Nations is "equally distorted" and would require intense efforts to enhance the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial, and trading systems. "There is a ray of hope, if I may put it that way," Kamboj said as she pointed out that during the high-level 77th session of the General Assembly, 76 countries favoured UNSC reforms and 73 spoke for UN reforms.

"This is not a serendipitous coincidence but a reflection of the thinking of the wider membership. Clearly, the multi-dimensional crises facing the world today demand a representative, multilateral architecture that is reflective of contemporary global realities and is well-equipped to meet emerging challenges. The UN must be fit for purpose," she said.

On December 14 and 15, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will preside over signature events in the Council on building a new orientation towards reformed multilateralism and the global counterterrorism approach and the way forward.

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