Besides complimenting India on its leadership during its presidency, delegates showered appreciation for the two elements it highlighted: reform of the UN and the fight against terrorism…writes Arul Louis
As India wraps up its two-year term as an elected member of the Security Council and its month of presidency with a focus on terrorism and UN reform, it has received praise from an array of countries spanning the globe.
India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said on Thursday. “When we spoke in the Security Council, we were speaking on behalf of 1.4 billion Indians, or one-sixth of humanity”.
“But we are also conscious of the fact that we were also the voice of the Global South during our tenure, highlighting issues of particular importance to the developing world,” she said. “During the last two years, we spoke out in support of peace, security and prosperity. We did not hesitate in raising our voice against the common enemies of humanity such as terrorism”.
She said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said of the Council tenure “that we will use the prestige and experience of being the largest democracy in the world for the benefit of the whole world”.
She convened for all UN members the wrapup session for India’s presidency and its term on Thursday because traditionally the Council goes into a hiatus in the final week of the year because of the holidays.
India began its term on the Council in January 2021 in the middle of the Covid pandemic with T.S. Tirumurti as the Permanent Representative and he served during India’s first stint as the Council president in August last year.
Kamboj became the Permanent Representative in August.
India is the chair of the Council’s Counterterrorism Committee and she convened a special meeting of it in Mumbai and New Delhi in October to bring home to the members the horrors of terrorism witnessed there.
She said that in “these polarised times”, India was able to get the Delhi Declaration, a “pioneering document” on counter-terrorism adopted at the session in Delhi.
This month External Affairs Minister presided over two high-level meetings of the Council covered by India on reforming multinational organisations, including the Council and on fighting terrorism, both of which have proved popular.
Leading the polarised Council where several interests clash and the president has to stay above it all, even its own national positions, maintaining neutrality is a difficult task.
That India pulled it off was acknowledged.
Austria’s Permanent Representative Alexander Marschik said his country was impressed “when you put national priorities aside and considerations of national interest aside for the UN, for the mandate of the Security Council”.
Russian Mission’s Second Secretary Nadezhda Sokolova, said, “India, as President of the Security Council, has demonstrated the highest standards of multilateral diplomacy and a focus on finding wise and balanced decisions. The Indian presidency managed to achieve a lot “and this has been possible thanks to the professionalism of your team,” she added.
Bangladesh Permanent Representative Muhammad Abdul Muhith said, “Thank you, Ruchira, for ably steering the work of the council throughout this month, marking the end of an eventful year for the United Nations”.
Besides complimenting India on its leadership during its presidency, delegates showered appreciation for the two elements it highlighted: reform of the UN and the fight against terrorism.
India was also seen as the voice of the Global South, the developing countries.
United Arab Emirates Deputy Permanent Representative Mohamed Abushahab said his country valued India’s consistent advocacy for the Global South.
The UAE served alongside India at the Council.
“We particularly valued our partnership on counterterrorism and will next month, take over from you the responsibility of chairing the Counterterrorism Committee, as we navigate increasingly complex challenges and crises,” he said.
Morocco’s Permanent Representative Omar Hilale said that India had attached to counterterrorism “great importance throughout its time on the council”.
Japan’s delegate praised Kamboj for “smooth chairpersonship of India this month”.
She said that the high-level signature event on the reform of multilateralism that was presided over by Jaishankar “was not only very important, but also very timely”.
South Africa’s delegate said that in a body dominated by the five permanent members, the elected members “bring colour to the work of the Security Council” and “it was seen in the signature events that India organised during the month of December”.
Chile’s delegate said the meeting on reforms India convened “reconfirms the need for having a more representative Security Council where all member states can make effective contributions to international peace and security”.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at email@example.com and followed at @arulouis)