India emerges most popular to win UNSC seat, readies for battle against terror

Photo: For Representational Purposes Only.

By Amit Agnihotri

New Delhi: India has emerged as the most popular nation to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member, bagging 184 of the total 192 votes, 33 per cent more votes than required to be declared victorious. India will take up its eighth two-year term from January 1, 2021.

India also promised to be the voice of all nations that don’t get heard at the high table and to highlight the global scourge of terrorism and the need to battle it with worldwide counter measures.

The South Asian nation, which was nominated unanimously as the candidate of the Asia-Pacific region, won 56 ballots more than the required 128 votes during the voting yesterday in the United Nations headquarters in New York.

“This reflects a universal acceptance (of India). The votes we got surpassed the threshold of 128 votes. This was one of the best performances of India at the UNSC ever,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup said during today’s briefing here.

Pointing out that India would work to enhance action against counter-terrorism, Swarup said during its previous tenure at the UNSC in 2011-12, the country had chaired the United Nations Counter Terrorism Committee and had brought the concept of zero tolerance for terrorism.

“During the coming term, we will work to enhance global action against terrorism, their supporters and sympathisers, safe havens by seeking streamlining of process of sanctioning of terrorists and terrorist entities, which has to be depoliticised,” he said.

“We will also work for early finalisation of the international convention on terrorism that we had proposed in 1996,” he said.

Talking about India’s focus on getting a permanent seat at the UNSC and reforming the global system in general, Swaroop said during the coming tenure the country would strengthen its case by participating in various inter-governmental negotiations going on at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“Our presence will underscore the value that India brings to the council and building bridges between nations,” Swarup said.

India as a UNSC member would be guided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s objective to achieve ‘New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System‘, which would be based on new opportunities for progress, an effective response to international terrorism, the need to reform the multilateral system, a comprehensive approach to global peace and security and promotion of technology with a human face as a driver of solutions.

The official stressed upon India’s long-standing role as a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue, and a proponent of international law and pointed out that the country has had a principled approach to international relations, which would be guided by the ‘Five S’ set out by the prime minister, namely, Samman (Respect), Samvad (Dialogue), Sahyog (Cooperation), Shanti (Peace) and global Samriddhi (Prosperity).

India was the sole representative of the Asia-Pacific group at the UNGA and this was made possible as Afghanistan had withdrawn in favour of India in 2013, the official noted with gratitude.

India is facing China’s belligerence at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de factor border between the two nations, at Ladakh for 45 days now in the form of People’s Liberation Army transgressions that have resulted in face-offs between their military personnel.

The June 15 bloody clashes left 20 Indian soldiers were dead, the Indian Army said yesterday. Casualties on the Chinese side, which could be over 40, according to a news agency report.

Swaroop refused to comment on the eight countries that voted against India at the UNGA, and if China and its protégé Pakistan were in that miniscule minority. It was a secret ballot, he said, adding that India was rather counting on the countries that backed it.

The UNSC has 15 members including five permanent members — the United States, the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, China and France. The 10 non-permanent members are elected for a two-year term by the UNGA.

India is also a part of ‘Group of Four‘ or ‘G4‘ along with Japan, Germany and Brazil that are pressing for reforms in the UNSC to include more permanent members at the high table to reflect the current reality of geopolitics in which new nations have emerged as power centres in the last seven decades since United Nations came into being.

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