UNITED NATIONS: India's second year of its tenure as a non-permanent member of the UNSC will be a period of consolidation and reinforcement of its priorities, and New Delhi will finish off its term at the horseshoe table on a "high-note" as it presides over the Council in December, according to Ambassador T S Tirumurti.
Tirumurti, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, told PTI that during the first year of its two-year United Nations Security Council tenure, India has taken a "firm but constructive" stand on a range of issues, including Afghanistan and Myanmar.
"We are halfway through our eighth tenure as an elected member of the Security Council. During the last one year, we have brought renewed focus of the Council to our priorities, especially maritime security, UN peacekeeping, protection of peacekeepers, combatting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Consequently, when we talk about India's plans for the next year in the Council, I believe that this will be a period of consolidation and reinforcement of our priorities. We will continue to play the role of a bridge between diverse interests within the Council," he said.
India is currently a non-permanent member of the 15-nation Security Council and its two-year term will end on December 31, 2022, the month India will also preside over the powerful UN body for the second time in its tenure.
India was the Security Council President in August 2021.
"India will also be the President of the Security Council later in December. So we expect to finish off on a high note," he said.
During its August Presidency, India organised high-level signature events on maritime security, peacekeeping and counterterrorism.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the high-level open debate on maritime security and the Council unanimously adopted a Presidential Statement (PRST) on maritime security that recognised the importance of enhancing international and regional cooperation to counter threats to maritime safety and security.
It also reaffirmed that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea.
This was highly significant since it marks the first-ever outcome document by the UNSC on the issue of maritime security.
Also, for the first time in the PRST, there are references to UNCLOS, a convention over which China, a veto-wielding permanent member, has had long-standing reservations and objections.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hosted an open-debate on peacekeeping under the theme of 'Protecting the Protectors'.
During the meeting, a resolution on 'Accountability of Crimes against UN Peacekeepers' as well as a Presidential Statement on 'Technology for Peacekeeping', the first such UN Security Council document on this topic, was adopted.
Following a ministerial-level briefing on ISIS, the Council unanimously issued a press statement that reiterated that they condemn in the strongest terms all instances of terrorism and noted with concern that the Islamic State (ISIL/Da'esh) could regain the ability to launch or orchestrate international terrorist attacks.
Ambassador Tirumurti is also the Chair of the Counter-terrorism Committee for the year 2022 in addition to continuing to Chair both the Taliban Sanctions Committee and the Libya Sanctions Committee.
"This is a reflection of the fact that the Council expects India to bring to bear its experience on these issues," he said.
On Afghanistan, the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan will be renewed on March 17 this year.
In response to a question on what India is looking for in Afghanistan in the UN context, Tirumurti said that the "key thing on Afghanistan for us" is that the international community should remain united and speak in one voice.
The collective expectations of the international community with respect to Afghanistan post August 15, 2021, when the Taliban took control of Kabul, were laid out in clear and explicit terms in the Security Council Resolution 2593 adopted during India's Presidency in August, the envoy said.
The resolution lays down the requirements on the fight against terrorism, as well as in terms of the expectations on inclusive, negotiated political settlement with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and minorities and diverse political-ethnic groups in the country, he said.
It also includes the importance of upholding human rights including those of women, children and minorities, and the requirement to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, Tirumurti said.
The Council also adopted a resolution in December which provides for a humanitarian carve-out to the sanctions to ensure that the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is addressed immediately and Afghan people receive urgent humanitarian assistance, he said.
India has sent urgently needed medical supplies and vaccines, and is also sending food assistance in keeping with its long-standing support on the humanitarian and development front to the Afghan people, Tirumurti said.
"In this context, a robust presence of the UN in the country would be helpful in this critical period. While we will be working with the other members of the Council on the specific framework in which the UN Mission in Afghanistan could operate, we will keep our focus centered on the Afghan people and their expectations from the international community to stand by them in this hour of crisis," the envoy added.