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India at UN SC: Need updated instrument to deal with 21st Century challenges

Addressing new issues, threats and challenges of the 21st century needs an updated, not an outdated instrument,” India’s permanent representative Syed Akbaruddin told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2017 13:13 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014. (Getty Images)

Making a pitch for rebooting the stalled UN Security Council reform process, India has said that to regain its “lost legitimacy” the council should change to reflect new world realities.

“The security council which takes decisions on behalf of ‘We the People’ represents an increasingly small minority of the world’s population,” India’s permanent representative Syed Akbaruddin told the council on Tuesday.

“If it is to make rules for ‘the people’ then it needs to adequately reflect new realities,” he said.

“A security council which has lost its legitimacy cannot be an effective tool to address the challenges of conflict prevention and sustaining peace,” he added injecting a note of urgency for reforms.

“While the world is changing, the institutional architecture primarily responsible for areas of peace and security remains frozen,” he said during a debate on conflict prevention.

“Addressing new issues, threats and challenges of the 21st century needs an updated, not an outdated instrument.”

Efforts for reforming the council and expanding it have virtually come to a standstill after the last session of the general assembly stopped the negotiations and pushed the matter to the current session, which has not taken it up so far.

About preventing conflicts, a basic mandate of the UN, Akbaruddin said the efforts should be grounds up rather than top down, with nations having the primary role in developing and implementing solutions.

“There can be and are actors at local, national, sub-regional and regional levels that may be in a better position to do so and can manage these issues better,” he said.

“India believes that for the UN to develop a culture of conflict prevention, it needs to recognise that the primary responsibility for sustaining peace lies with member states.”

He criticised the focus on strengthening the institutional aspects of the UN for peace-building and conflict prevention efforts rather than providing resources to countries to undertake the efforts.

While measures like analytical instruments, fact-finding, agenda setting, diplomatic initiatives and peace operations have an important role, they can only supplement the efforts of nations themselves, he said.