(This was originally posted in WION by Sidhant Sibal)
In an exclusive interview with WION’s Siddhant Sibbal, Indian Envoy to United Nations TS Tirumurti talked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UNGA speech and India’s determination to bring reforms in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). “And this a very clear message of India’s support to the United Nations, and to multilateralism,” the envoy said.
PM Modi talked about “representing mother of democracy,” Tirumurti said. He also used his personal experience to showcase that “democracy can deliver and it has delivered. He has talked about his vision for governance which is to leave no one behind,” Tirumurti added. In his UNGA speech, PM Modi emphasised that India — which represents one-sixth of humanity — has showcased immense developmental growth and that “will be the developmental journey for the rest of the country. If India grows, world grows and when India reforms, world transforms,” the diplomat explained.
Tirumurti also touched upon PM Modi’s announcement about India resuming its vaccine export programme in a bid to help the other countries around the world. Highlighting that India has vowed to be present for global good as a provider and contributor, Tirumurti said that PM Modi’s announcement was widely appreciated with a huge round of applause and “several leaders thanked India in their statements for standing by them with our vaccine contribution”.
He also highlighted that India is probably the only country in the G20 group which is on its course to achieve the Paris climate accord target.
PM Modi also underlined India’s continued commitment to combat climate change. “On the question of maritime security, he talked about oceans and the need to protect the resources of the ocean. I think why it is important is that we have just had on August 9, during our presidency of the Security Council, an event on maritime security. It was a high-level event, in which the PM himself was present. We had a presidential statement issued, which was probably first presidential statement issued on the holistic concept of maritime security, so in many ways it was extremely significant and therefore he underlined that, that it is an important concept and needs to be taken forward.”
The envoy also revisited PM Modi’s comments on terrorism. “Terrorism has been a very important aspect which we have consistently underlined both in Security Council and outside. India took an active part in the global counter terrorism strategy and it was adopted 2 months ago, and many of the concerns we have and many of the vision which we had on combatting terrorism, was reflected in the document,” he said.
United Nations Security Council
The envoy also talked about India not having a permanent seat at the UNSC. This time, after PM Modi met the US President Joe Biden, the US reiterated its support for India getting a permanent seat at the UNSC.
“President Biden also reiterated US support for India’s permanent membership on a reformed UN Security Council and for other countries who are important champions of multilateral cooperation and aspire to permanent seats on the UN Security Council,” a joint statement from the two countries read.
“Security Council is extremely important organ of the UN but unfortunately it is frozen in time. Over the last 75 years there has been no change,” the envoy said. “The world has changed, but UNSC has not changed.”
He also said that the UNSC is becoming less credible as “when you are not representative of the change, you become less credible. So that is the real problem of the Security Council, it is becoming less and less credible to address the problems of the world”.
India has called for reforms through the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) but the discussions have not reached any conclusion as of now, he said. “We are hoping in the 76th session we will get enough steam to make sure we give enough direction to this reform and we take it forward,” Tirumurti said.
Talking about India adopting a tradition of giving young officers a right of reply, he said, “We would like these young officers to go on to the big stage and deliver a powerful message and gain confidence. This is our way of telling them, you go ahead, and perform and you should be noticed. It is important that they gain confidence from this as young diplomats. That is really why we encourage them to do that.”
He also said that when some global leaders “misuse multilateral platform, they talk a very false and a very abusive narrative against India, and then having a young diplomat going and calling them out is also in my opinion very symbolic message to send.”
The envoy defined India as one of the largest contributors of peacekeeping and pioneers.
“The first women peacekeeping contingent was from India and our women peacekeepers went to Liberia at that time. Also, we have had 174 martyrs, so we have played a huge role, we have given our blood for peacekeeping and that is why we felt that during our presidency, we should have, a high-level event which was chaired by external affairs minister himself in person,” he said. “It was an extremely important event, and after more than 40 years, India for the first time tabled a resolution in the Security Council and it was against fighting impunity against the peacekeepers. It was extremely important, because the crime is only increasing against the peacekeepers. That was passed unanimously in the Security Council. We have put in money on unite aware technology platform. This is our way of telling the member states that India will walk the talk on peacekeeping.”
He also reported that India has “donated 200,000 vaccines for all peacekeepers around the world, that was very widely welcomed. We upgraded two hospitals, one in Juba in South Sudan and another one in Goma in DRC Congo.”