India urges UNGA president-elect to carry forward UNSC reforms


India urges UNGA president-elect to carry forward UNSC reforms

New Delhi: India, which is seeking a veto-wielding permanent seat in an enlarged United Nations Security Council (UNSC), on Sunday urged the United Nations General Assembly president-elect Mogens Lykketoft to ensure that text-based negotiations on reforming the council, which began in the 69th session of the UNGA, are carried forward into the 70th session that starts next month.

Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also pushed for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), proposed by India in 1996, against the backdrop of the emergence of groups like the Islamic State.

Lykketoft, former Danish foreign minister and finance minister, is in New Delhi on a two-day visit, ahead of taking charge as UNGA president on 15 September when the new session starts. He will remain in office for a year.

On Sunday, Lykketoft called on Swaraj and is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

The subjects on the table for discussions between Lykketoft and Swaraj included UN peacekeeping and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are to be adopted at the 70th General Assembly session, besides terrorism and UN reforms.

A statement put out by the ministry of external affairs said Lykketoft conveyed to his Indian hosts that the theme of his presidency would be “United Nations at 70—A New Commitment to Action”.

Swaraj, on her part, “conveyed India’s expectations to achieve concrete forward movement under the Presidency of Lykketoft on the UN Security Council reform negotiations as well as finalization of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism(CCIT)”, the statement said. On CCIT, Swaraj made a strong case for finalization of the convention during the upcoming session of the UNGA, said a person familiar with the development. Swaraj underlined that “there was a need for a coordinated global response to terrorism given the rise of groups like the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant),” said this person.

While there were some 12 different conventions dealing with many different aspects of terrorism, such as aircraft hijacking, Swaraj pointed out that there was no one umbrella legislation on the subject.

As a victim of terrorism from the 1980s, it was India which first mooted the CCIT in 1996, but it languished for many years. It was the 11 September 2001 terror attacks on the US that caused a change in the attitude towards terrorism and discussions on the convention began with some seriousness in 2002.

The CCIT, once again, came in focus after the 2005 London bombings targeting the underground train network and a bus when then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan called on member states to pass the convention.

While most member states of the UN agree that the CCIT is one of the most comprehensive proposed treaties against terrorism, covering subjects ranging from hijacking and hostage-taking to bombings and funding for terrorism, they differ on a most basic issue: the definition of terrorism.

In her discussions with Lykketoft, Swaraj also conveyed that India was already in the process of implementing 11 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which also match the government’s flagship programmes such as Saving the Girl Child and Clean India campaigns.

On peacekeeping, Swaraj told Lykketoft that countries, which are major contributors to peacekeeping missions, should be given a role in the decision- making process.


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