India coasts to win in U.N. Security Council polls

Nation bags 184 of the 192 votes.

June 18, 2020 02:01 am | Updated 10:48 pm IST - New Delhi

U.N. diplomats, staff and other personnel arrived at the General Assembly hall wearing masks and immediately left the venue after casting their ballots. Picture courtesy: Twitter/@UN_PGA

U.N. diplomats, staff and other personnel arrived at the General Assembly hall wearing masks and immediately left the venue after casting their ballots. Picture courtesy: Twitter/@UN_PGA

Terming India’s winning of a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council one of its “best performances” ever, the Union government said the majority of votes it received in the General Assembly demonstrated the “goodwill” the country enjoyed. India will promote multilateral solutions for the COVID-19 crisis and enhance global action against terrorism, among its priorities, during the two-year term beginning January 2021, it said. In the election decided overnight on Wednesday, India secured 184 of the 192 votes, far in excess of the 128, or two-thirds minimum, it needed to be confirmed. Others that won were Mexico with 187 votes, Norway 130 and Ireland 128, defeating Canada, which won 108. 

Several countries, including the permanent Security Council members, the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia and China, congratulated India.

Also read | UNSC reform process, negotiations postponed ‘until further notice’ due to COVID-19

Neither Kenya (113 votes) nor Djibouti (78), both contesting for one seat from Africa, won a two-thirds majority.

The two are contesting a second round. In its last bid for the UNSC seat in 2010, India had won 187 votes. 

“The strong support by almost the entire U.N. membership for India’s election demonstrates the goodwill that India enjoys in the U.N. and the confidence that the international community has reposed in India’s capability to contribute to the work of the Council,” said MEA Secretary Vikas Swarup on Thursday.

“India will become a member of the Security Council at a critical juncture and we are confident that in the COVID, and the post-COVID world, India will continue to provide leadership and a new orientation for a reformed multilateral system,” added India’s U.N. Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, in a video message released after the win.

Also read | By any calculus, India qualifies for UNSC permanent seat: Syed Akbaruddin

India’s term on the 15-member Council will be its eighth. Briefing the media about the win, Mr. Swarup said India would be the “voice for all those who are not represented in the Council” during its tenure. He also thanked the government of Afghanistan, which had allowed India to contest unopposed by giving up its bid for the seat in favour of India in 2013.

“India will work with all member countries to promote global peace, security, resilience and equity,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in a tweet, thanking the members for their “overwhelming support”.

When asked about the eight countries that did not vote for India, Mr. Swarup said India would rather focus on the vast majority that did and on its “broader canvas” on global issues. While the vote was conducted by secret ballot, Pakistan’s U.N. envoy had publicly criticised India just ahead of the vote, something Mr. Swarup described as Pakistan’s “standard norm” of “raking up bilateral issues at multilateral forums”. 

Significantly, in June 2019, both China and Pakistan had endorsed India as the Asia-Pacific grouping’s nominee .

The victory was expected but the government had left nothing to chance in terms of an outreach including via its embassies abroad. Prime Minister Modi had reached out to the heads of government in more than 60 countries and at multilateral forums like SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had also lobbied other governments,  The Hindu  had reported. 

Earlier in June, Mr. Jaishankar gave India’s overall objective during its forthcoming UNSC tenure as an acronym ‘NORMS’ — New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System, making it clear that U.N. reforms, including the push for expanding the UNSC permanent membership, would be high on agenda when it assumes the UNSC seat. 

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