India's G20 Presidency priority of Global South issues, counterterrorism, UNSC reforms among New Delhi's UNGA78 priorities
Sep 19, 2023
India's focus as G20 President on issues vital to the Global South as well as counter-terrorism, Security Council reforms, and peacekeeping will be among its top priorities during the annual high-level 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj has said.
"Our participation in this United Nations General Assembly session reaffirms India's unwavering commitment to global cooperation, peace and sustainable development," Kamboj, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, said in a video statement.
"Guided by the principle that envisions the world as a unified global family and in alignment with the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, we look forward to collaborative efforts that benefit not only our respective continents but also the entire world," she said.
On the eve of the opening of the General Debate when Heads of State and Governments and ministers address the world from the iconic UNGA lectern, Kamboj said India's focus remains steadfast on several crucial fronts during the 78th session of the General Assembly.
Outlining India's priorities for the session, she referred to the country's G20 Presidency and the Leaders' Summit held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 that culminated in the successful adoption by consensus of a joint declaration.
"Firstly, as the current president of the G20, India will continue to emphasise issues that are vital to the Global South countries including climate action, finance, and the Sustainable Development Goals," she said.
"We proudly opened the doors for the African Union to join the G20, recognising the importance of global collaboration to address contemporary challenges," Kamboj said.
In a significant milestone under India's G20 presidency, the African Union became a new permanent member of the grouping of the largest economies of the world during the summit in New Delhi. It was the first expansion of the influential bloc since its inception in 1999.
All member countries of the G20 accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal to bring the key bloc of the Global South to the high table of the world's top economies.
In his inaugural remarks at the summit, Modi had asked the President of the Union of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Azali Assoumani to join other leaders at the high table, making the 55-member bloc the second multi-nation grouping after the European Union to be a permanent member of the G20.
Kamboj added that India's commitment to sustainable economic growth and eco-friendly initiatives is encapsulated in the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration "ensuring an inclusive and action-oriented G20 presidency" under Modi's guidance.
She further said that in matters of human rights and social issues, India champions health, universal health coverage and the prevention of pandemics.
India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 countries to fight the pandemic. "Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, India contributes to the global response through vaccine diplomacy, supports equitable vaccine access and advocates for strengthening global health infrastructure." Kamboj underlined that India stands "firmly for women's rights, constructive human rights dialogues and intercultural dialogue for peace".
India, the world's most populous country, has been at the forefront of years-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying it rightly deserves a seat as a permanent member at the UN high table, which in its current form does not represent geo-political realities of the 21st century.
"In the realm of UN reforms, India actively participates in the discourse on Security Council reform, aiming for permanent membership and emphasising the expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership. We also focus on revitalising the Non-Aligned Movement," Kamboj said in the video statement.
A strong voice on counter-terrorism and Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee in 2022, India leads "global counterterrorism efforts, addressing the misuse of technology by terrorists and advocate for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism".
India is also among the largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping. Kamboj said: "With a rich history in UN peacekeeping, India acknowledges the challenges faced by peacekeepers and strives to reduce their burdens, promoting responsible technology use and renewable energy in peacekeeping missions."
India will chair the 62nd session of the UN Commission for Social Development, the first time since 1975 that India holds this "esteemed position", she said.
In July this year, Kamboj assumed chairship of the 62nd Session of the Commission for Social Development, the first time in nearly 50 years that India has held this position within this UN agency.
The central theme for the 62nd session is ‘Fostering Social Development and Social Justice through Social Policies to Accelerate Progress on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to achieve the overarching goal of poverty eradication'.
This theme underscores the vital connection between social development and social justice, as they form the bedrock for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.