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As it leads UNSC, India will keep spotlight on terrorism: Tirumurti

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TS Tirumurti, the Indian envoy to the UN (Photo: IANS)

India will keep the spotlight on terrorism during its presidency of the Security Council and make a renewed push for international efforts to combat the scourge in all its manifestations, according to India's Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti said.

Briefing reporters on Monday after his first session as Council president, Triumurti said that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will chair a Council session on threats to international peace and security from terrorism.

That session will also have a briefing on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's report on the Islamic State.

India assumed the presidency of the 15-member Council on Sunday and Tirumurti will lead it through the month.

At the briefing on the Council's agenda for the month, he outlined the three areas that India will use its presidency to put before the global spotlight.

Tirumurti said that India's concern "is not just about cross border terrorism" but also the use of highly sophisticated mechanisms by the terrorists and the financing of terrorism. Terrorism affects all the major areas of the globe and ISIL (Islamic State) has its reach all over the world," he said.

A matter of great concern to all the members of the Council is the increase in terrorism in Africa, and "I've said very clearly that you ignore it at your own peril."

India will also be bringing a holistic approach for the first time to the issue of maritime security for the first time to the Council, which has in the past only dealt with certain aspects of it, and seek answers to the dangers on the high seas.

"It is time that the various dimensions of maritime security and crime are discussed in a holistic manner, addressed through international cooperation," Tirumurti said.

"Our objective for the high-level debate is to make a case for equal access for all nations to use to the use of global commons so that sea lanes are rendered as pathways to mutual prosperity and corridors of peace," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over a virtual session next Monday on maritime security, in which African Union President Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, who is also the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will participate in a demonstration of the global attention to the issue, Tirumurti said.

The open debate "will seek answers from member states to questions such as what could be done to address the drivers of maritime crime and insecurity, how would member states, enhance their capabilities and improve operational coordination to access maritime security threats, and how to advance the implementation of international cooperation," Tirumurti said.

"Issues such as piracy, use of sea to conduct crimes illicit trafficking in narcotic and psychotropic substances, trafficking in persons and illicit firearms and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing have implications for the livelihood and security of coastal communities, international trade, energy security, and the global economy," he added.

The third focus area is peacekeeping given that India has been the largest contributor to UN operations, having sent over 250,000 troops of whom 175 have made the supreme sacrifice.

"We will be strongly advocating for enhanced measures to ensure the safety and security of the protectors of peace," Tirumurti said.

"We will focus on two specific aspects pertaining to it. One is how to ensure the safety of peacekeepers by use of technology and to how to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers," he said.

Jaishankar will preside over the sessions on peacekeeping on August 18.

He said that the adoption of new technologies can "play a significant role in improving the safety and security of the peacekeepers" and will be an "overarching theme of protecting the protectors."

Tirumurti said that India was discussing with other Council members a stronger response to the impunity with which peacekeepers are being attacked and adopting a resolution on it.

He noted that according to UN statistics from 2013 onwards "the conviction rate is alarmingly low" of people who have committed crimes against peacekeepers.

But he said that peacekeepers operated in areas where the governments were weak and lacked the resources to effectively prosecute those attacking the peacekeepers.

To remedy this, he said that these countries needed help with capacity-building and financing.

"It has received a lot of support from countries because for us, protecting the protectors is an important aspect," he added.