India will highlight international terrorism, United Nations reforms and Security Council expansion , streamlining the world body’s peacekeeping operations and technology initiatives during its upcoming tenure as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2021-22, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar here.
“The normal process of international governance has been under increasing strain as frictions have increased. Traditional and non-traditional security challenges continue to grow unchecked. Terrorism is the most egregious of such examples,” said Mr. Jaishankar, releasing a campaign brochure ahead of the vote. “Unreformed and under-representative” global institutions and the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact would increase challenges for the UNSC, he added.
“India’s overall objective during this tenure in the UN Security Council will be the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System,” he stated.
This will be the eighth time India will occupy a non-permanent UNSC seat, with its last stint in 2011-2012.
India is guaranteed a place in the UNSC as it is the sole candidate for Asia-Pacific, but needs two-thirds of the 193-member General Assembly to vote in its favour in a secret ballot scheduled for June 17 in New York. Mexico is also expected to be elected unopposed for the Latin American group but there will be a battle for 2 seats of the West European and Others Group (WEOG) between Canada, Ireland and Norway, and for the African seat between Kenya and Djibouti.
While India is expected to sail through with the 129 votes required for the seat, the government is setting its sights on much higher numbers than that ahead of the election. In 2010, when India stood for the UNSC seat of 2011-2012, it won 187 of the 190 votes polled.
Plan launched in 2013
The government launched its plan for the UNSC seat as far back as 2013, officials said, with a keen eye on 2021, the year that will mark its 75th year of Independence.
“We were asked to identify an uncontested spot, which was a problem as the first such slot would only come available in 2026,” Asoke Mukherji who was the U.N. Permanent Representative in 2013 told The Hindu . “To our good fortune, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan agreed, in a gesture to our friendship, to step aside for the 2021-22 seat. They cleared the decision in their Cabinet and then we wrote jointly to the General Assembly,” he added
The next big challenge was to pursue the Asia-Pacific grouping nomination without any last minute contenders being propped up against India. “While diplomacy between capitals certainly helps, the vote had to be tied down by negotiations on the ground,” said a diplomat, explaining how India was able to win a unanimous endorsement from the 55-nation grouping that included both China and Pakistan, in June 2019.
However, given rising tensions in relations with both those countries since then, as well as criticism from countries such as Turkey and Malaysia and other groupings like the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) over the government’s decision on Article 370 last August as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act, officials admit that the challenge to win the maximum votes at the General Assembly this time is going to be more uphill than in the past.