Peace Agent in the Security Council Editorial 28th Jul’21 TimesOfIndia

Peace Agent in the Security Council Editorial 28th Jul’21 TimesOfIndia

India at UNSC at a critical time:

  • On January 1, 2021, India once again returned to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as non-permanent member for two years.
  • Its entry couldn’t have happened at a more critical time.

India’s valuable contributions at UNSC

  • Conflicts have only increased during the pandemic, putting considerable pressure on UN resources.
  • This has come at the time when the Council is deeply divided on major issues on its agenda.
  • Against this tense backdrop India has made several valuable contributions and it will assume UNSC’s rotating presidency in August.

Helping the Afghan peace process:

  • India, with its size and its independent foreign policy, has provided much-needed balance in the Council, specially in relation to the teeming fissures within the P-5 or the five permanent members.
  • India presented clear views, and helped ensure that the polarisation of the Council doesn’t affect its ability to take a well-considered view.
  • India’s position as the chair of the crucial Taliban Sanctions Committee will continue to be a factor in giving direction to the Afghan peace process and preserving the gains of the last two decades, especially with respect to women and minority rights.

Saving Africa from sanctions:

  • On Africa, which dominates the agenda of the Council, India’s views have been sensitive to local priorities and needs.
  • India showed determination to ensure that the countries under sanctions get help to come out of them rather than be burdened with unrealistic benchmarks.
  • India’s chairing of the Libya Sanctions Committee has come at a time when there is an active peace process being pursued.

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Balanced position on middle-east:

  • In the Middle-East, India leveraged its strong and historical links to convey views on Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
  • When tensions rose in Gaza, India took a well-considered and principled stand.
  • On Syria, India stood firmly for humanitarian assistance throughout the country without discrimination, politicisation or any preconditions.

Maritime matters:

  • India will take over the UNSC’s rotating presidency in August, 2021.
  • For the presidency, India has, in keeping with our priorities, identified three main themes:
    • Maritime security
    • Technology
    • Peacekeeping and counter-terrorism

  • A comprehensive approach to maritime security is essential to safeguarding common prosperity as it protects legitimate activities and counters threats within the maritime domain.
  • This encapsulates the PM’s vision of SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region.

Protecting the protectors:

  • India has upgraded its peacekeeping hospitals in Congo and South Sudan to combat Covid.
  • Further, India has supplied vaccines to all peacekeepers.
  • India also pledged helicopter units for peacekeeping in Mali and the Sahel region.
  • India will be sponsoring and collaborating actively with the UN to roll out UNITE AWARE technology software, initially in four UN peacekeeping missions.
    • This would involve using modern technology to help the missions maintain situational awareness, carry out their mandates, and protect themselves. 

Fighting terrorism:

  • India has consistently flagged the issue of terrorism both inside the Council and outside.
  • In fact, India has been at the forefront to conclude the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the UN General Assembly recently.
  • India has consistently stood against any attempt to dilute the fight against terrorism and have helped in exposing those who aid, support and finance terrorists.
  • Terrorism in India’s neighbourhood and beyond is of particular concern given the increasing use of AI, drones, blockchain technology, and online financing by terrorists.
  • India will continue to play an important international role in counter-terrorism, and even more so as it assumes the chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee in January 2022.

Development cooperation:

  • India’s cooperation with small states, especially during Covid, has been robust under the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.
  • UNDP has acknowledged the human-centric initiatives of India, including India’s concept of aspirational districts, as global models.
  • India’s contribution to women-related issues has been substantial and India was recently elected to the prestigious UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Climate action:

  • On climate action, there is acknowledgement of India’s strides in renewable energy, its ambitious climate goals for 2030, and its leadership of the International Solar Alliance.

Conclusion:

  • India will assume the UN Security Council presidency in August, with the confidence that its stint in the Council is making a difference to the way the UN and member states are viewing India and the world.

Importance:GS Paper II: International Relations Editorial Analysis