Tuesday September 21, 2021

India and the UNSC

August 03, 2021

The next weeks are going to be a time when Pakistan will need to watch the situation around the world, and in the UN, with a degree of care. The Foreign Office and Pakistan's representative at the UN have already said the country will be keeping an eye on India's action as president of the UNSC. India will hold this post for August, taking over from France, as part of its tenure as a non-permanent member for the SC for 2020-21. India has served on the UNSC eight times in the past. But this turn at the helm of the UNSC comes at a time when there is a huge amount of tension in the region, and an indication that India is in many ways feeding this. This has already been said by Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who has accused India of trying to create problems in the region. It could create further problems as it takes over the Security Council.

India's permanent representative to the UN has said India would be hosting three conferences during its tenure, including one on peacekeeping, one on counterterrorism and one on maritime security. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also to address the Security Council on August 9 and the stint for India comes at the same time as its Independence Day on August 15. For Pakistan, each of the consequences India proposes could bring problems. It seems likely that India will once again bring up the issues it has raised in the past such as accusations of Pakistan's involvement in regional terrorism and its role as a safe haven for terrorists. It is also obvious that India is playing a part in Afghanistan, and it could make an attempt to make Pakistan's own role more difficult. The accusations that Pakistan is in some way conniving with the Afghan Taliban have raised some concern around the world, although it is obvious that there is in real terms no such nexus. For Pakistan, the coming weeks will be difficult. India's role will indeed need to be watched and Pakistan must step up its own diplomatic efforts to ensure it does not suffer further damage as a result of any accusations or any threats made by India.

Most of the world wants peace in Afghanistan. But the messaging being fanned by India, suggesting that Pakistan had played a role in supporting terrorism in the region, is troubling. In a time like this, Pakistan can do without further tensions and further problems. It will need to do everything it can to make sure India does not deliberately try to evoke strong reaction to Pakistan's role in Afghanistan and its role in the region, including the issue of Indian Occupied Kashmir and the consistent accusations that Pakistan has engaged in terrorist action in that region. It would be wise for India to act diplomatically and understand that peace in the region is of benefit to all the people and all the countries which make up this part of South Asia.