Relevance: Understanding how India can act as an agent of peace amidst conflict.
Synopsis: India’s role as an agent of peace as it undertakes the presidency of the United Nations Security Council. A look at its ongoing efforts and how it plans to take forward its agenda of global peace.
On January 1 India returned to the United Nations Security Council for two years.
- It is scheduled to undertake the rotating Presidency of the UN Security Council on August 1. It will be the country’s first Presidency during its 2021-22 tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
- India will again preside over the Council in December next year, the last month of its two-year tenure.
Conflicts have only increased during the pandemic, putting considerable pressure on UN resources even as the Council is deeply divided on major issues on its agenda.
In this light, India’s presidency could not have come at a better time. India can act as an agent of peace amidst an increasingly conflict-ridden world.
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- Helping the Afghan peace process: India’s chairing 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. This is in line with India’s 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.
- Role in the Middle East: In the Middle-East, India has made use of its strong and historical links to convey its 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: For India’s presidency in August, three main themes have been identified – maritime security, technology, and peacekeeping and counter-terrorism. A comprehensive approach to maritime security is necessary to safeguarding common prosperity. This encapsulates India’s vision of SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region.
- Protecting the protectors: India has upgraded peacekeeping hospitals in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Juba, South Sudan to combat Covid. Further, it has supplied vaccines to all peacekeepers. India has 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, it has been at the forefront to conclude the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the UN General Assembly recently.
- 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.
- On climate action, there is acknowledgement of India’s strides in renewable energy, our ambitious climate goals for 2030, and our leadership of the International Solar Alliance.
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