Common security possible if nations respect sovereignty
India on Monday took a tacit swipe at China at the UN Security Council over issues such as “double standards” in fighting terrorism, coercive and unilateral action aimed at changing the status quo by force and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states
India on Monday took a tacit swipe at China at the UN Security Council over issues such as “double standards” in fighting terrorism, coercive and unilateral action aimed at changing the status quo by force and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
Though India’s envoy to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj, didn’t name any country while participating in a meeting at the Security Council on maintenance of international peace and security, it was obvious which country the remarks were referring to.
The meeting was convened at the behest of China, the president of the Security Council for August, and Kamboj noted that one of the guiding questions posed by the presidency for the meeting is what constitutes “common security”.
“Any coercive or unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo by force is an affront to common security. Further, common security is only possible when countries respect each others’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, as they would expect their own sovereignty to be respected,” Kamboj said against the backdrop of the military standoff between India and China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“Common security is also possible only if countries respect agreements signed with others, bilateral or multilateral, and do not take unilateral measures to nullify those very arrangements to those they were party to,” she added.
The Indian side has repeatedly accused China of violating several agreements and protocols on border management by amassing troops along the LAC since early 2020. The standoff has taken bilateral relations to an all-time low.
“Common security is also only feasible when all countries stand together against common threats such as terrorism and do not engage in double standards while preaching otherwise,” Kamboj said.
Over the past two months, China has blocked moves by India and the US to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Abdul Rehman Makki and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Abdul Rauf Azhar as global terrorists at the UN Security Council by using a “technical hold”. The moves were criticised by India.
Kamboj said principles behind “common security” include upholding the rules-based world order underpinned by international law and based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, resolution of international disputes through peaceful negotiations, and free and open access for all to the global commons.
She said the world is facing multiple challenges such as terrorism, radicalism, threats from new and emerging technologies, climate change, pandemics, and intensifying geopolitical competition.
“An armed conflict in one part of the world has cascading effects on the people of another. We have seen the effect of the Ukraine conflict on other developing countries, particularly, on the supply of food grains, fertiliser and fuel. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan is still being felt throughout the region,” Kamboj said.
The Indian envoy questioned whether the UN has lived up to its expectations, and noted that the requirements and challenges of the present and future are very different from those of the past.
The UN’s efforts at dealing with these challenges have been “partial or intermittent at best, as we have invariably stopped short of providing effective and durable solutions”, Kamboj said. Contemporary challenges cannot be dealt with through outdated systems and governing structures, she added.
There should be a serious discussion on India’s call for reformed multilateralism, including the reform of the UN Security Council, Kamboj said. “How can we aspire for common security, when the common good of the global south is continued to be denied representation in its decision making,” she asked.
“A truly representative Security Council is the most pressing need of the hour. Else, there is a real danger of the UN being superseded by other plurilateral and multilateral groupings which are more representative, more transparent and more democratic and, therefore, more effective,” she said.