India as a UNSC member: Concluding on a high note, in Manhattan

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Source: The post is based on the article “Concluding on a high note, in Manhattan” published in “The Hindu” on 21st March 2023. 

Syllabus: GS2- Important international institutions 

Relevance: About India as a UNSC member.

News: India has concluded its eighth stint in the United Nations Security Council at the end of December 2022. 

What were the priorities for India at UNSC?

The focus was on maritime security, terrorism, UN peacekeeping, reformed multilateralism and the Global South. 

India was elected Chair of three important UNSC Committees: the Taliban Sanctions Committee, Libyan Sanctions Committee and Counter­terrorism Committee. 

What are the important contributions of India as a UNSC member? 

Maritime issues: The Prime Minister of India chaired for the first time a UNSC meeting on maritime security. India’s statement for the first time is a direct reference to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It called it international law setting out the legal framework in the context of maritime activities.  

It also called for freedom of navigation, anti­piracy and combating terror and transnational crime at sea. 

Major conflicts: In case of major conflicts over the world, the Council stood polarised and unable to act decisively. India tried to bring them on the same page. 

There was a military takeover in Myanmar in 2021. India ensured balanced and comprehensive Council pronouncements. It finally culminated in a resolution on Myanmar in December 2022. 

In August 2021, the Taliban forcefully seized power in Afghanistan. India was able to steer the Negotiations. It resulted in UNSC Resolution 2593. The resolution lays down benchmarks for stopping cross-border terrorism from Afghan soil; protecting the rights of women, minorities and children; ensuring an inclusive government, and providing humanitarian assistance.  

During the Ukraine conflict, India took an independent stand. It called for dialogue and peace. India spoke out against such sanctions on oil, food and fertilisers 

Terrorism: India has enhanced its focus on terrorism. As Chair of the UNSC Counter­ terrorism Committee, its meeting was organised in India in October 2022. India’s proposal to list Abdul Rehman Makki, Deputy Chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba under UNSC Resolution 1267 sanctions was approved by the UNSC.  

Peacekeeping: India has been the largest contributor to UN peacekeepers. Its launching of the UNITE Aware technology platform to strengthen the real­time protection of peacekeepers is to be noted. In 2021, India piloted the first UNSC resolution, calling for accountability for crimes against peacekeepers. India gifted two lakh vaccines to all UN peacekeepers. 

Climate change: In 2021, India thwarted a move by the West. It wanted to take out climate change from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process and brought it under the ambit of the UNSC. The draft resolution was defeated in the Council when India and Russia voted against.

A change in religious extremism: India also raised the issue of a contemporary form of religiophobia in the Council. It condemned phobia against Abrahamic religions and called for the need to combat rising hate crimes and phobias against non-­Abrahamic religions. 

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