India enters UNSC for eighth time

India is back in the UN Security Council for the eighth time when global politics is witnessing several inflection points—growing US disinterest in multi-lateralism, Chinese determination to dominate global multilateral institutions and especially when India-China ties are at a historic low in the backdrop of Ladakh clashes.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his gratitude on India’s election to the UNSCunopposed by 184 votes. “Deeply grateful for the overwhelming support shown by the global community for India’s membership of the @UN Security Council. India will work with all membercountries to promote global peace, security, resilience and equity.”

Briefing journalists, Vikas Swaroop, secretary (west), MEA, said, “We will act as a voice of reason and moderation and a firm believer in respect for international law and peaceful settlement of disputes.” He said India would want to “reform” the multilateral system based on the following principles — samman, samvad, sahyog, shanti and samriddhi (respect, dialogue, cooperation, peace and develpment).

The call for “reformed multi-lateralism” by both Modi and external affairs minister S Jaishankar will not involve the UNSC itself which is a larger battle. For the next couple of years though, India will be “in the room” to push back against Chinese mischief targeting New Delhi.

“China cannot use this forum against India,” said a source. That will be a big gain. In addition, China’s actions in Ladakh have now completely eroded its position as a supposed “impartial” interlocutor on Kashmir. India can use that to neutralise China’s needling on Pakistan’s behalf.

The position will give India some useful leverage to push some key objectives, especially of playing a role in global governance which heading a UN body entails.

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