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India prepares to claim its crown at the Security Council

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.

There is no middle ground.”

-Cersei Lannister

On 17th June, India was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term beginning in January 2021.

The UNSC is made up of fifteen nations, five of which are permanent and do not have to worry about elections- the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom. The rest ten are non-permanent; they are elected for two-year terms from the UN General Assembly.

Being a part of the UNSC is like possessing a badge of pride in international politics. When there is a security crisis in the World, the matter is brought before the UNSC, and they try to settle the dispute. Its members have a prominent voice on issues of peace and security such as the Syrian war, the Yemen war, nuclear threats from North Korea, and terrorism.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “India will work with all member countries to promote global peace, security, resilience and equity,”. At the UNSC, India’s approach is going to be guided by five S’s: Samman (Respect), Samvad (Dialogue), Sahyog (cooperation), Shanti (Peace) and Samriddhi (Prosperity).

India has already started to enhance its diplomatic presence at the UN to prepare for taking over as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in January 2021. External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will be personally reviewing India’s work at the UNSC every month. TS Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative at the UN, and Nagaraj Naidu, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN, will join the group before the 75th UN General Assembly opens on 15th September 2020. Such preparatory work for new non-permanent members of the UNSC begins months before they formally join.

Vikas Swarup, Secretary of the External Affairs Ministry, said that finding innovative and inclusive solutions to the Covid-19 crisis, reforming multilateral forums and organisations, including the UN, and enhancing counter-terror cooperation will be the focus areas for India during its term. In 2011-12, India had chaired the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee, a subsidiary body which is a part of the UNSC, and brought in the concept of zero tolerance for terror.

Vikas Swarup further said that India will take action against safe havens of terrorism and their “supporters and sympathisers”, by ensuring a faster yet efficient manner of facilitating the imposition of sanctions or penalties on terrorists and terrorist entities. Just a year ago, India played a little game called diplomacy and ensured that Masood Azhar, the Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed (Pakistan based terrorist organisation) would be enlisted as a global terrorist under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. And, with the tag of ‘global terrorist’ came sanctions against Masood Azhar in the form of his assets being frozen and a travel ban being imposed on him. Assets are frozen here in order to ensure that the individual is unable to fund terrorist activities.

India will also be working on the finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that it had proposed in 1996 but has still not been implemented yet as there is no unanimity on the definition of terrorism among the member states. The CCIT makes it an obligation for all those who signed it to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist organisations, ban all terror groups, and shut down terror camps.

Further, the Indian government has said that it will “act as a voice of reason and moderation and a firm believer in respect for international law.” Naturally, people facing oppression around the world must have some expectations from India to firmly defend their rights after they’ve said such a thing and have acquired a considerably powerful position in the UN. But unluckily for them, India’s record on alleviating rights in its own country is not satisfactory, let alone helping a foreign country.

Reporter: Haneen Farid

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