International Relations

UN Security Council: India’s Remarkable Tenure

With a focus on maritime security, terrorism, UN peacekeeping, reformed multilateralism, and the Global South, India’s two-year stint on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was unprecedented. India chaired three important UN Security Council Committees, worked to bring opposing parties together, and raised important issues such as religiophobia.

India’s term in the UN Security Council will run from 2020 to 2022.

Focus on Priorities:

  • Priorities will be clear upon entering the Council in January 2021.
  • Priorities include maritime security, terrorism, UN peacekeeping, reformed multilateralism, and the Global South. India has been elected Chair of three key UN Security Council Committees.

India’s Role in Maritime Security:

  • The Prime Minister of India presided over a UN Security Council meeting on maritime security.
  • The Presidential Statement was the first comprehensive document on maritime security to be issued.
  • The document referred to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as international law that established the legal framework.
  • The statement advocated for freedom of navigation, anti-piracy measures, and the fight against terrorism and transnational crime at sea.

Conflicts on the Agenda:

  • In Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Haiti, Libya, and the Sahel, as well as Ukraine, old conflicts festered and new conflicts arose.
  • The Council was divided and unable to act decisively.
  • India attempted to convene the Council on these issues.

India’s Involvement in Myanmar:

  • Myanmar was taken over by the military in February 2021.
  • Permanent-5 members were pulling in opposite directions, while ASEAN advised caution.
  • India shares a nearly 1,700-kilometer border with Myanmar, and it was critical to end violence, restore stability, and ensure democratic processes continued.
  • India ensured that Council pronouncements were balanced and comprehensive, culminating in a resolution on Myanmar (adopted during India’s presidency) in December 2022.

India’s UNSC Impact: Relentless Diplomacy in the Face of Global Challenges

India’s role in Afghanistan Crisis:

  • India led the negotiations that resulted in UN Security Council Resolution 2593 for benchmarks in Afghanistan, such as combating cross-border terrorism, protecting the rights of women and minorities, ensuring an inclusive government, and providing humanitarian aid.
  • India maintains a firm stance on the Taliban’s adherence to these standards.

India’s stance on Ukraine Conflict:

  • During the Ukraine conflict, India’s independent stance in favour of dialogue and peace resonated with many developing countries.
  • India spoke out against unilateral oil, food, and fertiliser sanctions.
  • As the conflict has encroached on India’s G-20 presidency, the country is now launching an initiative to turn its proactive stance into action.

India’s focus on counter-terrorism:

  • As Chair of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), India hosted the CTC meeting in October 2022.
  • India attempted to list terrorists under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 sanctions but was unsuccessful; however, the proposal to list Abdul Rehman Makki, Deputy Amir/Chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was approved by the UN Security Council, with India as a proposer.

India’s role in peacekeeping

  • India has been the largest contributor of UN peacekeepers, including as a pioneer in women peacekeeping.
  • Platform for UNITE Aware technology: It is worth noting that it has launched the UNITE Aware technology platform to improve real-time protection of peacekeepers.
  • Demanding accountability for crimes committed against peacekeepers: India piloted the first UN Security Council resolution in more than five decades in August 2021, calling for accountability for crimes against peacekeepers. In addition, India provided two lakh vaccines to all UN peacekeepers.

@the end

The Indian Presidency sparked a debate on urgent Council reform, emphasising India’s strong performance and the importance of its permanent presence at the horseshoe table.

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