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  • India’s UNSC Bid: Is it different this time?

    A careful reading of the report of the deliberations of the UNGA on November 7, 2016 would suggest that nothing has changed at the ground level; only the rhetoric of member states has been amplified.

    December 08, 2016

    Can Stronger Regional Partnerships Help The UN Promote Global Stability

    Though no one questions the promise of regional partnerships, there are many impediments in practically achieving it as is evident from past partnership missions of the UN.

    November 04, 2016

    Bhumish Khudkhudia asked: How significant is the UN General Assembly’s decision to choose the path of text-based negotiation for carrying out Security Council reforms? What was the rationale behind the US and Russia not contributing to the text?

    Arpita Anant replies: The decision of the UN General Assembly to adopt text-based negotiations on the “question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters” is significant because it has established that a majority of the nations agree on the principle of reform. Also, it has helped clarify the positions of particular nations and/or groups of nations on this important subject.

    UNSCR 1540: A decade of existence

    The success of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 should not make the international community overlook persisting problems. The objective of the 1540 is to internationalise WMD security by targeting the entire supply chain.

    April 28, 2014

    Kinshuk Jain asked: What was India's role in the Geneva II Conference?

    Gulshan Dietl replies: The Geneva II was a UN-backed conference for ending the civil war in Syria by bringing the Syrian Government and the opposition together. It was held on January 22, 2014 in Montreux followed by the one in Geneva on January 22-23.

    India responded to the international appeal for humanitarian assistance by supplying essential food items, pledging $2 million to the United Nations Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (UN-SHARP) and offered technical expertise as also $1 million to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the destruction of chemical stockpiles and related facilities in Syria. On the broader political issues, India refrained from taking sides in the Syrian civil war. Thus, it abstained on a UN Security Council resolution that condemned the Syrian regime’s violent crackdown on the protesters as the resolution did not condemn similar violence by the opposition. It also abstained on the UN General Assembly resolution that called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. It voted for a UN Security Council resolution only after the issues of regime change, military intervention and sanctions were deleted from the text.

    India was invited to the Geneva II along with roughly forty other countries. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid led the Indian delegation. He expressed concern that the situation in Syria had sharply intensified the sectarian fault-lines across the region and that all shades of religious extremism had infiltrated into Syria from all over the world. He reiterated India’s stand that there can be no military solution to the conflict and no society can be re-ordered from outside. He extended support for an all-inclusive Syrian-led peace process and offered to assist in the implementation of the Geneva II resolutions.

    Posted on March 28, 2014

    The Geneva Conference on Syria: What Will It Deliver?

    The UN is convening a conference on Syria in Montreux from January 22 with 30 odd states including India attending the meet. While the US is standing in the way of Iran’s participation, Russia has stated clearly that Iran’s absence will prevent the conference from delivering the intended results.

    January 20, 2014

    Abhishek Tyagi asked: Why is the Security Council not taking any military action against the DPRK under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, despite continued testing of nuclear weapons by the latter?

    Pranamita Baruah replies: After the latest round of nuclear tests by North Korea in February 2013, many seemed to argue that the political realities in the Korean Peninsula dictate that an overt military strike-even one limited to cruise missiles-should be on the cards. However, that cannot be the case as even the most restrained attack could have devastating implications for the East Asian security.

    Most of the US military planners too seem to be of the view that even the notion of limited strikes against the hermit kingdom is fraught with potential escalations. It could destabilise the country and further aggravate the tension in the whole of East Asian region. Moreover, Pyongyang might treat such an attack as a part of Washington’s attempt to bring about a regime change in North Korea. This cannot be acceptable to the current regime as the Kim family, since the time of Kim Jong-il, has used the perceived threat from the US and its allies in the region to legitimise its dynastic rule over North Korea. So, in the interest of keeping the current regime intact, Kim Jong-un and his advisors in such circumstances could retaliate by a military action of their own.

    Though North Korea’s claim of having missiles capable of striking at the US mainland is still doubtful, one cannot really deny that the North, with reportedly 10,000 fortified artillery pieces trained on Seoul, could easily target South Korea. Most importantly, North Korea has more than 100 No-Dong missiles that can reach deep into South Korea as well as Japan. Under such circumstances, both South Korea and Japan will not support any military action against the North. In fact, North Korea’s erstwhile ally Russia and current benefactor China too will oppose such an action. Though after the latest provocation both Moscow and Beijing had strongly criticised Pyongyang, they will, for the time being, continue to insist on diplomatically engaging with North Korea. Beijing’s recent effort towards resuming the Six Party Talks (SPT) clearly demonstrates its support for continued diplomatic engagement.

    If the UN is to take a military action against North Korea, then it will require full support from its Security Council. However, this may not be possible if two of the permanent members of the Security Council, Russia and China, decide to veto it.

    Outer space comes closer to a regime

    The Group of Government Experts need to take into consideration complex and inter-related concerns of space activities before formulating the Transparency and Confidence Building Measures. The need is to have an effective mechanism and not an accommodative one.

    May 20, 2013

    HC Dutta asked: What does India stand to gain by pushing through a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN?

    Satish Nambiar replies: As a country affected by terrorism, long before the more powerful countries of the developed world began to take cognisance of the threat it poses to international peace and security, India has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; stressed that tackling such behaviour required a holistic approach and collective action; and recommended that the scope of legal instruments must be expanded to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice. India, therefore, has a vital stake in the formulation of counter-terrorist measures at the international level, including a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). It is in this context that India had proposed a draft of a CCIT as far back as 1996.

    The conclusion and ratification of such a convention by member states would bind them to action on the contents of the operative paragraphs of the Security Council Resolution 1373 of 2001 that are available at http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/sc7158.doc.htm. They are self explanatory in so far as pursuing India’s interests are concerned.