Countering terror will be the focus in India’s eighth stint as UNSC non-permanent member

New Delhi: As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), India will continue its push for action against terrorists, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

At a media briefing Thursday after India’s appointment to the UNSC, Vikas Swarup, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, also said the country would work for the “early finalisation” of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), which envisages a common global template to counter terrorism. 

The adoption of the CCIT under the UN was first proposed by India in 1996, but it has been in limbo ever since due to opposition from several countries on some of the provisions laid out in the convention.

“Enhancing counterterrorism action by the UNSC is one of the main priorities for us. Earlier also, when India was a member of the UNSC during 2011-12, we had chaired the UN’s counterterrorism committee and brought in the concept for zero tolerance for terrorism,” said Swarup.

During India’s two-year stint, Swarup said, it will focus on taking action against safe havens of terrorism and their “supporters and sympathisers”, by seeking to streamline the process of imposing sanctions on terrorists and terrorist entities.

He said the process of sanctioning terrorists and terrorist entities needs to be “de-politicised” as “there is no justification for any act of terrorism”.

“We will also work for the early finalisation of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India had proposed way back in 1996,” Swarup added.

This was also highlighted by T.S. Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. “Combating terrorism is obviously going to be a very important priority for us. Keeping in mind that we have been victims of decades of cross-border terrorism,” he told news agency ANI.

India’s latest UNSC stint — its eighth so far — will begin 1 January 2021 and end with 2022.  

India’s UNSC membership comes a year after India was able to swing global diplomatic heft in its favour and ensure a ‘global terrorist’ tag for Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, which comes with sanctions. The sanctions were the result of a 10-year lobbying effort from India. 

Also Read: All about UN Security Council and India’s non-permanent membership for the 8th time

‘UN system needs reform’

The UNSC consists of 15 members: 10 non-permanent members elected on rotation and five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and US. The permanent members have been constant since the establishment of the UNSC in the immediate aftermath of World War 2. 

India had last assumed the role of a non-permanent member at the UNSC in 2011-12. Prior to that, it was a non-permanent member in 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85 and 1991-92.

According to Swarup, the UN system “needs reform urgently” and all its members, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNSC “need to reflect contemporary realities”.  

India was unanimously elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC during a voting process Thursday with 184 of the 192 valid votes cast.

Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had stated that India’s approach to the UNSC will be based on a ‘Five S’ approach – samman (respect), samvad (dialogue), sahayog (cooperation), shanti (peace) and samriddhi (prosperity).


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