Pakistan ‘watchful’ as India assumes UNSC presidency

NEW YORK: A day after India assumed the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for August, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the global body, Munir Akram, said Islamabad will be “watchful, but not concerned” during New Delhi’s spell at the forum.

During its presidency, India will host signature events related to various issues on the UN agenda with a focus on maritime security, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism, NDTV reported.

The presidency of the 15-member Council rotates monthly, going alphabetically among member states. India took over the presidency from France on Sunday, and it’s only coincidental that it has coincided with the second anniversary of the annexation of occupied Kashmir and the completion of the withdrawal of foreign troops from war-battered Afghanistan.

This is India’s eighth stint on the UNSC.

“India will obviously use its SC Presidency to promote its own narrative on various issues, including terrorism and UN reform,” Akram told Dawn early Monday morning.

“We will watch its conduct carefully and ensure that no moves that are against Pakistan’s core interests are allowed to succeed.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually preside over the body’s meeting on “Maintenance of international peace and security: Enhancing maritime security — A case for international cooperation”, in which member states will discuss coordination to tackle maritime crime and security issues such as piracy and drug trafficking.

Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to preside over a UNSC meeting.

It is possible that at the behest of its Western allies, New Delhi may also raise the issue of navigation in the South China Sea.

Washington wants its regional allies and other Asian nations to take a more united stance against China over the waters, where tensions have spiked in the wake of Beijing’s construction of seven man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago.

In return, China accuses Washington of seeking maritime hegemony in the name of freedom of navigation.

If such an eventuality arises, the Chinese ambassador is expected to give a strong response.

India will also organise a minister-level meeting titled, “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” at the end of the month.

Diplomatic observers expect India to push its baseless narrative of being a victim of terrorism and may go to the extent of targeting Pakistan. If it does, Pakistan will be ready with its response with a statement, as allowed to non-members.

Meanwhile, back in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri expressed hope “India will abide by the relevant rules and norms governing the conduct of the Security Council Presidency”.

In view of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, observers believe the issue may be raised in the Security Council as well.

The Taliban have secured vast swathes of land as the United States and NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

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