By Arul Louis, (IANS) India will be the voice against terrorism at the UN Security Council, but will also act a healer and a bridge-builder within the polarised body, according to India’s Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti.
Outlining New Delhi’s “very ambitious agenda” for its two-year term, Tirumurti told IANS on Monday: “We will be raising our voice against the enemies of humanity, particularly terrorism.”
In a polarised Council, India will be bridge-builder, especially when the world emerges from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
“We are also entering the Security Council when the Covid pandemic is on. Therefore, we are hoping that we will play a role not only during the pandemic, but also in the post-pandemic world, where I think there is a lot of healing to do. There are fissures, (and) I’m confident India will be a bridge to overcome these fissures.”
At a global level, India is already helping countries with fighting the coronavirus, he said citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge at last year’s General Assembly session to “be an important player in the context of the Covid pandemic” and to share “the vaccines for the sake of humanity and mankind”.
“We have already assisted more than 150 countries, by way of medical aid. And I’m confident that during the pandemic we will play an extremely important role,” he said.
An Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1985 batch, Tirumurti took over as the Permanent Representative last year just as India was getting ready for the Council election and guided the campaign to an impressive victory, polling 184 of the 192 votes cast.
India is historically the biggest contributor to the UN peacekeeping operations and he indicated that the topic will be high on India’s agenda.
Peacekeeping is “an extremely important component of our engagement with the United Nations, as well as peace-building, which has come into prominence in recent years”, he said.
The peacekeeping mandates are issued by the Council mostly driven by the permanent members who are oblivious of ground realities and India has complained that the troop-contributors were not consulted. Now India, which has sent more than 200,000 peacekeepers in 49 missions, will be able to contribute to the framing of missions.
“We will also be advocating reformed multilateralism, the rule of law, women and youth in the context of conflict situations,” he said.
On the terrorism front, India will be able as a Council member to participate in the discussions about terrorism and terrorists, where China has given Pakistan cover in the past.
For example, Beijing for several years protected Masood Azhar, the Pakistan-based terrorist leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, who was behind several terrorist attacks – the most recent one in Pulwama in 2019 that killed 40 Indian security personnel.
The Council is scheduled to take up international terrorism on January 12.
Tunisia’s Permanent Representative Tarek Ladeb, who is the Council President for this month said at a news conference on Monday evening that because of the grave threat from terrorism, he was organising the session as “a signature event”.
“We believe that this challenge cannot be addressed individually. It can only be addressed only within the framework of the strong international cooperation and coordination and, of course, within the implementation of all the relevant Security Council resolutions,” he said.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)