Counter-terror, peacekeeping top priorities of India at UNSC

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 02, 2011 18:42 hrs

New York: Issues related to counter-terrorism, UN peacekeeping operations and human rights would be the top priorities of India as it joins the powerful Security Council after a gap of 19 years, New Delhi's top diplomat to the world body has said.

"One of our major pre-occupation is the issue of terrorism. I expect that in the coming months we would have to address that issue through the work of the Council," Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, told PTI in an interview.

As such India will prepare a key role in the two committees of the Security Council - the 1267 and 1373 committee, Puri said.

1267 is the Security Council Sanctions Committee concerning al-Qaida and the Taliban and individuals and entities associated with those organisations.

There are entities of interest to India, which New Delhi would want to be pursued through the 1267 committee. There is currently one seat vacant in this committee; which has been vacated by Austria.

1373 is the Security Council Committee concerning counter-terrorism and its financing. There is one seat vacant in this committee, which has been vacated by Turkey.

"You can expect India to play a very active role in that. This committee deals with issues like building capacities, normative rules dealing with counter-terrorism and dealing with India that is a major area of interest," the Ambassador said.

"I am not suggesting that this is something that we would do immediately on that is starting immediately as we start the work of the council.

But in the coming months, we would give a very high priority to this one," Puri said.

While counter-terrorism would be the top priority of India during its two-year term at the UNSC, its immediate focus is going to be the current agenda of the Security Council - 65 to 70 per cent of which essentially currently deals with Africa.

This month itself the Security Council would be preoccupied with Sudan - the first meeting which is expected to be as early as January 6.

Apart from terrorism, Puri said, there are other issues where India has traditionally pursued as part of its interest, prominent among them being peacekeeping.

India is one of the top contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping operations.

One of those is peacekeeping. Our contribution to peacekeeping is one of the highest among the member states.

"We have participated in all the major peacekeeping operations since its inception. At any given point of time, we have 9,000 to 10,000 peacekeepers on the ground.

There are several issues related to peacekeeping.

We have been both traditional troupe contribution country. In addition to that we find ourselves in a unique position because we also have a unique peace and nation building experience," he said.