India ready to take its place at the global top table: UNSC President Amb Kamboj
United Nations: India is ready to take its place at the global top table as a country that is willing to bring solutions and contribute positively to the global agenda, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ruchira Kamboj has said.
India on Thursday assumed the monthly rotating Presidency of the Security Council, the second time after August 2021 that India is presiding over the 15-member Council during its two-year tenure as an elected UNSC member.
The country’s 2021-2022 term on the Council ends December 31, with Kamboj, India’s first woman Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York sitting in the President’s seat at the powerful horseshoe table for the month.
“I’ll draw your attention to the last two years in particular because human memory is always short. So let’s begin with the immediate past,” Kamboj said in response to a question on support for India as it assumes the Presidency of both the UNSC and G20 on Thursday.
Kamboj said that in the last two years, as the world went through various crises, “India has always been there as a solution provider.
Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kamboj said India supplied medicines, medical equipment, as well as sent medical teams to countries in need and supplied 240 million doses of vaccines to over 100 countries.
“We were there in response to humanitarian crises. So all of this and more points to the fact that India is ready to take its place at the global top table as a country that is willing to bring solutions to the table and to contribute positively to the global agenda,” she said.
In the last four months alone, we have supplied 1.4 million tons of humanitarian assistance to countries in need including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Ukraine, she said.
“We walk the talk and we have repeatedly emphasised that one of the central tenets of our foreign policy is human centric, people-centric and that will continue to be the case,” Kamboj said.
To a question on whether the UNSC reform is moving forward, Kamboj said, “I wish I could say yes, yes and yes, but I will definitely say that this is one of the most complex processes in the UN system. But there is a ray of hope.”
She pointed out that during the high-level 77th session of the General Assembly, 76 countries favored UNSC reforms and 73 spoke for UN reforms.
She said India will work “very constructively” in the course of the current session of the General Assembly to move the process forward, working off a negotiating text and in full collaboration and cooperation with all UN member states.
During a press conference at the United Nations headquarters on the first day of India’s presidency, she highlighted India’s priorities and the monthly programme of work for December.
On another question on the long-pending UNSC reform, Kamboj said the case for Security Council reform is “undeniable”, asserting that the Council as it is currently configured is an “anachronism”.
“We do know that everyone does not agree very easily on all issues. So if there is some pushback by some countries, that is normal in the United Nations system, that is normal in any negotiation process, but I’m happy to tell you that the broad majority of the membership does feel very strongly that enough is enough and reforms are needed,” she said.
“We hope that we will be able to take the process constructively forward. I know there is some degree of fatigue. But to my mind, it is very clear. This issue has never been more relevant than it is today,” Kamboj said.
“We’re very realistic about the veto power as we talk about reform of the Security Council. Ideally, the veto should not be there for any member. But if that is not possible, then it should be there for all members,” she said.
Kamboj said India’s position on UNSC reform is early reform with comprehensive reform at its core.
“Comprehensive reform is not just an expansion in the permanent membership of the Security Council, but also in the non-permanent category, the question of the veto, the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council and an improvement in the working methods of the Security Council to make it more democratic and thereby more effective,” she said.
Kamboj said that the Inter-Governmental Negotiations on UNSC reform will commence in January.
“We will work within the ambit of the existing negotiation and we will take it from there. We will see how it works out. And we will calibrate our position accordingly,” she added.
India, Brazil, Germany and Japan – members of the G4 grouping – have been at the forefront of efforts calling for urgent reform of the Security Council, which has remained deeply divisive in dealing with current challenges.
India has asserted that the Council, in its current form, does not reflect today’s geo-political realities and its credibility is at risk if nations like developing nations like India do not have a permanent seat at the world body’s top organ.