As India's term in the UN began on January 1, India's Permanent Representative to the UN TS Tirumurti spoke exclusively to Republic Media Network's senior executive editor Abhishek Kapoor on Saturday. When asked about how he felt when he installed the Indian Tricolour at the UN, Ambassador Tirumurti said, "It was a matter of great honour. It is a moment of great pride and humility. I thank the leadership for trusting me and my team. We are entering the UN as a non-permanent member for the eighth time, so the eyes of the world are upon us, we will work earnestly to live up to expectations."
India has said that it will use its tenure in the UN Security Council to bring human-centric and inclusive solutions to matters of international peace and security. As the Indian flag was installed at the UN, as per flag installation ceremony introduced by Kazakhstan in 2018 and unanimously confirmed by all 15 UNSC members as an annual tradition, Tirumurti said that India represents 1/6th of humanity and it is in the UN with a strong commitment to reform multilateralism, rule of law, a fair and equitable international system and to peace, security and development.
When asked about PM Modi's UNGA speech wherein he spoke about the reforms in the UN, Tirumurti said, "The PM was very clear in his message. The UN has been there for 75 years now, but the Security council is unfortunately still stuck in 1945, and it does not reflect the significant changes that have taken place since then, the world has become multipolar since then. It is also unfortunate that while the overwhelming majority of the UN member states support reforms in the UN, a handful of statutes quos have consistently opposed any reform and not letting it move forward. It is critical for making this organisation more representative, legitimate and effective and worlds have waited for 75 years, it cannot wait any more, and we have called for time-bound and text-based negotiations."
Asked about his statement that India will be a voice for the developing world and will not shy away from raising its voice against the common enemies of humanity like terrorism, Tirumurti explained, "India is very firm and very forceful against terrorism, this focus will continue. We will take this forward not only in the two years in the security council, we are determined to see how better we can push this - this is a priority for us - to combat terrorism in all form and manifestation with zero tolerance."
He also said that India will chair the counter-terrorism committee in 2022 and a Taliban sanction committee. The UN ambassador named Pakistan and said, "As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is clear that the biggest threat to India is cross border terrorism sponsored from across the border. Of course, terrorists nurtured by Pakistan are not just threat to India but to the region. This also explains why the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UN are hosted by Pakistan. It is also clear that despite being sanctioned by the most important multilateral body, these terrorists continue to prey with impunity inside the territories controlled by Pakistan. This dilutes the very fight against terrorism. It is important that those who refuse to implement these decisions are held accountable."
On Chinese moves in Ladakh, Trimurti said, "Our position is clear that bilateral issues are best solved bilaterally, using a multilateral forum for what is essentially a bilateral issue, is not what we are looking at. I can assure you that we have a forward-looking agenda and our approach is to work constructively with all members with whom are shared interest exists." Tirumurti also highlighted India's role in peacekeeping and pointed out that Indian message that vaccines manufactured in the country will be available to all humanity was received with a positive note by the world community.
India along with Norway, Kenya, Ireland and Mexico joined as non-permanent members of the UNSC. The other non-permanent members are Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam and the five permanent members are China, France, Russia, UK and the US. India will be UNSC President in August 2021 and will preside over the Council again for a month in 2022. The presidency of the Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names.