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Terror to be India’s focus at UNSC

Even as India re-enters the United Nations Security Council or UNSC in January 2011, it will use its seat on the apex body to focus attention and apply pressure on terrorist groups that have targeted the country in the past.

world Updated: Dec 24, 2010 22:47 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Even as India re-enters the United Nations Security Council or UNSC in January 2011, it will use its seat on the apex body to focus attention and apply pressure on terrorist groups that have targeted the country in the past.

Indian officials have described this as a “high priority” area for the country as it commences its two-year term as an elected non-permanent member of the Council from the Asia region.

In an interview, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Puri said, “We propose to use our tenure on the Security Council to provide a major thrust towards making the Council’s counter-terrorism machinery more robust and effective.”

India will “vigorously pursue” addition to the sanctions list of entities, individuals and outfits involved in acts of terrorism affecting the country.

Obviously, this includes frontal organisations of Pakistan-based groups like the Laskar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammed that have carried out attacks against India and Indian interests.

This would involve focusing on listing of such entities through the Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which falls under the auspices of the UNSC. At present, some individuals and groups blacklisted by the United States Treasury and State Departments, have not faced similar action from the UN. The UN effort is focused on cutting off funding for the entities and placing travel restrictions upon them.

At the same time, this will also involve future decisions regarding possible delisting of those associated with the Taliban as part of the political process in Afghanistan that some, like the Pakistan establishment, have preferred. However, India has objected to the Taliban in the past and this could play a role in how India addresses the Afghanistan issue on the Council.

In fact, India’s presence on the Council will also mean that India will have formal leverage to play a role in Afghanistan, and a change from the last 12 months when, due to pressure from Pakistan, there had been efforts to reduce India’s role in that critical region. Afghanistan, of course, remains a major matter before the UNSC, although significant decision-making is undertaken by the US-led coalition forces in that country.

India will be engaged in dealing with other global matters while on the Council, including flashpoints like Iran, North Korea and the Middle East.

India also hopes to play a constructive role in “shaping the Council’s response to the African agenda.” In fact, almost immediately after India assumes its seat, the major issue before the UNSC could be the scheduled referendum in the Sudan and the possible reconstitution of that nation.