Confident of Winning UNSC Seat: Indian Envoy

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador TS Tirumurti is confident that India will be elected in the group of elite 15 in the UN Security Council by winning a two-thirds majority. He said that his focus will be to “strengthen the voice of those who are not heard”.

Tirumurti is India’s envoy at a crucial time when India is set to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after over a decade.

In an interview to media, he said he had landed in the midst of Covid-19 in New York and it has been a very difficult time for the US, particularly New Yorkers. It has not been an easy time for the UN as well. Everything is going on in virtual mode.

“So, it has not been an easy time for the UN and certainly very difficult for the US but I must say that I have been very fortunate. I have been able to communicate with many of my colleagues in spite of COVID and the lockdown,” he said.

He said his immediate priority is naturally to get India elected in the forthcoming elections for the non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has already launched India’s set of priorities for its stint in the UN Security Council, he said adding that India has set five overarching priorities under the acronym NORMS, which stands for New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.

Overall, during our tenure, we will seek to reflect our ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the World is One Family, Tirumurti said.

He said India had received tremendous support and countries see India’s presence in the Security Council as not just strengthening the Council but also strengthening the voice of those who are not heard.

“Of course, I am also reaching out to the various countries to ensure that our message and our priorities for the Security Council are understood and appreciated,” he said.

Tirumurti didn’t want to see India’s presence in the Security Council purely through the narrow prism of India-Pakistan bilateral issues.

“India has a global role, more so in the context of COVID. COVID-19 has made us rethink how we can use multilateralism and international cooperation to make this a better world. We have the ability to work closely with partners and overcome old and new fault lines,” he said.

Tirumurti said India had advocated dialogue and fairness to solve global issues. “We have a great opportunity to shape the post-COVID scenario. Therefore, our election to the UN Security Council will be very timely,” he said.

On Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he said Pakistan tried to couch its anti-India disinformation campaign in religious terms and raise this in OIC in New York but found no takers.

“You are already aware that on the 50th anniversary of OIC, India was invited for the first time as the chief guest on the first of March last year at their Foreign Ministers’ meeting where the late Sushma Swaraj had participated,” he said.

Tirumurti said India has excellent bilateral relations with OIC countries, especially in the last few years, including in the Gulf and Africa and others where relations are at an all-time high. The OIC countries share, acknowledge, appreciate and value India’s pluralistic and democratic ethos.

On terrorism, Tirumurti said “terrorism is definitely one of the priorities for our Security Council agenda. It is an enduring threat to international peace and security having linkages across the border and regions in recruitment and operations. The UN itself has recognised the grave threat posed by terrorism and has set up the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism in 2016 to bring the issue to the fore to involve the wider UN membership to join efforts to put an end to the scourge.”

He said India “will take it up strongly and address both its sponsors as well as the various dimensions like the abuse of ICT by terrorists, stop the flow of terror finance and ensure greater coordination to fight terror. It will be a comprehensive way, looking at all dimensions of terrorism.”

Tirumurti said “reform of the Security Council is going to be a very important part of our agenda. There is definitely a need to look seriously into the reform of the Security Council.”

He said “Prime Minister has made a clarion call for reformed multilateralism. The status quo of the multilateral system is what some countries would like to revert to and reinforce. This does not reflect current realities.”