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India in UNSC after 19 years, counter-terrorism top agenda

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  1. tallboy123

    tallboy123 SENIOR MEMBER

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    United Nations: After a gap of 19 years, India today formally took its place in the UN Security Council as a new non-permanent member for a two-year term, a position from which it is expected to push its agenda for UN reform.

    India in UNSC after 19 years, counter-terrorism top agenda

    Along with India, Germany, South Africa, Columbia and Portugal too took their places at the powerful 15-member body of the United Nations.

    Regarded as a key emerging political and economic power, India would be the president of the powerful Security Council in August and again later next year, most likely in November 2012, during its two-year term.

    India is also likely to be given a key responsibility of heading one of the two key counter-terrorism committees of the Council during its term.

    Diplomatic sources privy to the discussions at the United Nations headquarters in New York told PTI that talks are in advance stage to request India to head one of its two key counter-terrorism committees.

    India, along with other emerging countries, has been pushing for a reform of the United Nations to reflect the realities of the present day world.

    It has also sought an expansion of the UN Security Council to include new permanent members, and has joined hands with the G4 countries (Germany, Japan, South Africa and India) to push for the expansion.

    Excluding Japan, all three countries now find themselves in the Security Council as non-permanent members and are expected to push their agenda jointly.

    The five existing non-permanent members are Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria, while India along with Germany, Portugal, South Africa and Columbia joined the Security Council as its new non-permanent members on January 1. India so far has been elected to the Security Council for seven times including the current 2010-2012 term.

    India in UNSC after 19 years, counter-terrorism top agenda

    Issues related to counter-terrorism, UN peacekeeping operations and human rights would be the top priorities for India as it joins the powerful Security Council after a gap of 19 years, New Delhi's top diplomat to the world body said.

    "One of our major preoccupation is the issue of terrorism. I expect that in the coming months we would have to address that issue through the work of the Council," Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, told PTI in an interview.

    As such India will prepare for a key role in the two committees of the Security Council -- the 1267 and 1373 committee, Puri said.

    1267 is the Security Council Sanctions Committee concerning al-Qaida and the Taliban and individuals and entities associated with those organisations.

    There are entities of interest to India, which New Delhi would want to be pursued through the 1267 committee.

    There is currently one seat vacant in this committee that has been vacated by Austria.

    1373 is the Security Council Committee concerning counter-terrorism and its financing. There is one seat vacant in this committee as well, vacated by Turkey.

    "You can expect India to play a very active role in that. This committee deals with issues like building capacities, normative rules dealing with counter-terrorism and dealing with India that is a major area of interest," Ambassador Puri said.

    "I am not suggesting that this is something that we would do immediately or that is starting immediately as we start the work of the council. But in the coming months, we would give a very high priority to this one," Puri said.

    While counter-terrorism would be the top priority of India during its two-year term at the UNSC, its immediate focus is going to be the current agenda of the Security Council -- 65 to 70 per cent of which essentially currently deals with Africa.

    This month itself the Security Council would be preoccupied with Sudan -- the first meeting which is expected to be as early as January 6.

    India in UNSC after 19 years, counter-terrorism top agenda

    Apart from terrorism, Puri said, there are other issues where India has traditionally pursued as part of its interest, prominent among them being peacekeeping. India is one of the top contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping operations.

    "We have participated in all major peacekeeping operations since its inception. At any given point of time, we have 9,000 to 10,000 peacekeepers on the ground. There are several issues related to peacekeeping.

    "We have been both traditional troop contribution country. In addition to that we find ourselves in a unique position because we also have a unique peace and nation building experience," he said.

    The presidency of the Security Council is held in turn by its members in the English alphabetic order of their names.

    It was in June 1950 when India for the first time ever presided over the presidency of the Security Council.

    The Security Council has 15 members, five of which are veto wielding permanent members, while the rest 10 are non-permanent members; half of which are elected every alternate years for a two-year term.

    India was elected to this prestigious body soon after its independence in 1950-1951; thereafter it was elected in 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85 and 1991-92.


    India in UNSC after 19 years, counter-terrorism top agenda -  National News ? News ? MSN India