Current AffairsIndia

Jaishankar to chair high-level briefing at UNSC on counter terrorism

United Nations/New Delhi: As part of efforts to continue to keep the spotlight on combating terrorism, India during its month-long presidency of the UN Security Council will be hosting a high-level briefing on counter-terrorism on August 19, chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Revealing this during his first media interaction after India took over the rotating presidency of the UNSC for the month of August, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN TS Tirumurti told reporters that India is “firmly against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.

“And we believe that there could be no justification whatsoever for terrorism. We will continue to keep the spotlight on this matter as we have in the past, both inside the Council and outside as well.”

He said India has not only strengthened the efforts to combat terrorism, “for example in the financing of terrorism India has prevented efforts to dilute the focus on terrorism”—a reference to Pakistan not doing enough to crack down on terror financing and money laundering.

He said Jaishankar will be chairing a briefing on August 19 to discuss UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s report on the Islamic State/Daesh.

Jaishankar will also be chairing an open debate on August 18 on the topic of ‘Technology and Peacekeeping’, as the issue of peacekeeping is “very close to our hearts”. The event will be held in the UNSC chambers.

Recounting India’s contribution to the UN Peacekeeping efforts, he said, “India is proud of its long and rich tradition of contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, including the involvement of women peacekeepers.”

India has contributed more than 250,000 troops in nearly 50 missions over the years, which is cumulatively the largest from any country, Tirumurti said.

He said India always remembers the valour of peacekeepers, including the 179 from India of the total 4,089 peacekeepers who have died worldwide in UN peacekeeping operations.

“Considering the fact that peacekeepers continues to function in volatile and complex situations to implement the UNSC mandates, we will be strongly advocating for enhanced measures to ensure the safety and security of the protectors of peace.”

He said India’s August presidency will focus on two specific aspects pertaining to peacekeeping – “How to ensure the safety of peacekeepers by use of technology, and two, how to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers”.

India will stress on the use of new technology for peacekeepers. “We believe the infusion of technology can play a significant role in improving the safety and security of the peacekeepers. The use of reliable and cost effective new technologies in peacekeeping operations that are driven by practical needs of end users on the ground is the need of the hour,” he said.

On August 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually preside over an open debate on maritime security at the UNSC. African Union President Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, who is also the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will participate in the open debate, “given the importance that the topic of maritime security has for Africa”.

Giving details of the open debate, he said it will “seek answers from member states to questions such as what could be done to address the drivers of maritime crime and insecurity, how could member states enhance their capabilities and improve operational coordination to answer maritime-related threats, and how to advance the implementation through international cooperation.”

He said India’s objective through this high level open debate “is to make equal access for all nations to the use of the global commons so that sea lanes are rendered as pathways to mutual prosperity and corridors of peace.”.

Among the other meetings during the month are scheduled monthly meetings, including those on Syria, on Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and the Middle East, on the Israel-Palestinian issue, and on UNIFIL – UN Interim Force in Lebanon, he said.

On August 1, India took over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of August. India’s two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council began on January 1, 2021.

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