New Delhi: India on Wednesday called for introspection within the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over the lack of representation of African countries among its permanent members.
Speaking at the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on “Challenges of maintaining peace and security in fragile contexts” especially in the African context Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla sought to place in context the instability faced by many African countries and underlined the importance of the role of national governments in ensuring peace and stability in their countries.
While democracy was gaining stronger roots -- through peaceful transfers of power -- in some regions there were still challenges, caused by weak governance structures, ethnic divisions, the presence of terrorist and armed groups and over-exploitation of diminishing resources, he said.
“Climate change, water scarcity and resource wars are adding new dimensions to the existing complexity,” Mr Shringla said.
These in turn were triggering other problems like refugee flows, safe havens for terrorists, organized crime, epidemics and weapons trafficking, he said.
The speech comes just days after India assumed a non permanent seat the UN Security Council on January 1, 2021, for a two year term.
India has said that it will push for “reformed multilateralism" or seeking changes in the structure of the UN’s most powerful decision making body during its term in the UNSC, aimed at making it more representative and effective to deal with current day challenges and crises.
In his speech, Shringla pointed a pointed a finger at the “legacy of colonialism" on the African continent, describing it as “the foundational basis of the current instabilities that plague the African continent."
He also urged “full respect" for “national ownership" of efforts to bring and sustain peace in an unstable environment.
Besides this, the UNSC should also give space to regional efforts to manage or resolve problems, Mr Shringla said.
The African Union supported by other regional groupings had managed to resolve crises, he said.
African leadership had already put in place mechanisms like the “High Level Panel on Fragile States" to respond to developing crises “in a flexible and rapid manner," he pointed out.
Warning against focusing on all fragility issues in Africa, the UN Security Council should, Shringla said, focus on those “situations directly affecting the maintenance of international peace and security."
Other suggestions made by Mr Shringla included ensuring that UN peacekeepers and Special Political Missions were sufficiently mandated and resourced to implement peace.