General Assembly Security Council

Permanent Mission of India to the UN

New York


Media Briefing on the occasion of  India Assuming UNSC Presidency for August 2021 

[Monday, 2 August 2021; UN Media HQ/2nd floor]



Opening Statement


  • Good afternoon friends. I am happy to meet all you here to brief you on our Presidency of the Security Council this month.


  • At the outset, I wish to extend my sincere felicitations to Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN, for steering the Security Council as President for the month of July. I would also like to extend my appreciations to Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière and his entire team for guiding the Council during a busy and challenging month.


  • Allow me to mention that it is both an honor and privilege for India to preside over the Security Council in August. The month August is of particular significance to us, given the fact that India will be celebrating our 75th Independence Day on the 15th later this month. This, as you know, is our 8th tenure in the Security Council. India had chaired the Security Council last in November 2012.


  • You would have seen the Programme of Work.  Let me start with the signature events that we plan to have during our Presidency.


  • There are three major areas which we will focus on in August: maritime security, peacekeeping and counterterrorism.


  • While Maritime Security has been discussed in the Security Council in the past and a few resolutions have been adopted on select aspects of maritime security and crime, we feel that it is time that the various dimensions of maritime security and crime are discussed in a holistic manner and addressed through international cooperation.


  • 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 (IUU) fishing etc., have implications for the livelihoods and security of coastal communities, international trade, energy security, and the global economy. Safeguarding the legitimate uses of the oceans and the lives of people at sea requires a comprehensive approach that ensures our common prosperity and security while countering the threat of hostile or illegal acts within the maritime domain.


  • Much of India’s history has been shaped by the Oceans and maritime security has always received a very high priority in India’s foreign policy. In 2015, Prime Minister of India put forward the initiative of SAGAR - an acronym for ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region’, that encourages States to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, and to make meaningful efforts to create a safe, secure, and stable maritime domain.


  • We plan to hold a virtual High-Level Open Debate on Maritime Security on 9 August. This will be chaired by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi. I am also happy to inform you that H.E. the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is also the President of the African Union, has kindly agreed to participate in the Open Debate given the importance that the topic of maritime security has for Africa.  The Open Debate, among others, will seek answers from member states to questions such as what could be done to address the drivers of maritime crime and insecurity, how could member states enhance their capabilities and improve operational coordination to assess maritime security related threats, and how to advance the implementation through international cooperation. Our objective through this high-level debate is to make a case for equal access for all nations to the use of the global commons so that sea lanes are rendered as pathways to mutual prosperity and corridors of peace.


  • The second signature event relates to Peacekeeping. This is an issue that is close to our hearts. India is proud of its long and rich tradition of contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, including the involvement of women peacekeepers. We have contributed more than 250,000 troops in 49 Missions over the years, cumulatively the largest from any country.  India always remembers the valor and bravery of 4089 peacekeepers, including 175 from India, who laid down their lives across various missions for the cause of peace.


  • At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the request of the Secretary General, we upgraded two of our peacekeeping hospitals – one in Juba, South Sudan and the other in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. We have also gifted vaccine doses to cover peacekeepers across all the UN peacekeeping missions. We have also pledged air support to MINUSMA and are working now with the UN Secretariat to deploy them at the earliest.


  • Considering the fact that peacekeepers continue to function in volatile and complex situations to implement the Security Council mandates, we will be strongly advocating for enhanced measures to ensure the safety and security of the protectors of peace. Our August Presidency, we will focus on two specific aspects pertaining to peacekeeping – (i) how to ensure the safety of peacekeepers by use of technology, and (ii) how to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers.  


  • We believe that infusion of appropriate technology can play a significant role in improving the safety and security of the peacekeepers. Use of field-focused, reliable and cost-effective new technologies in peacekeeping operations that are driven by practical needs of end users on the ground is the need of the hour. Under the overarching theme of ‘Protect the Protectors’, the External Affairs Minister of India will be chairing an Open Debate on the 18th August on the topic of “Technology and Peacekeeping”. It will be held in the Security Council chambers.


  • The third high-level event which we will host is on counter-terrorism, which is of course a national priority for us. We are firmly against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and believe that there could be no justification whatsoever for terrorism.  We will continue to keep the spotlight on this matter, as we have in the past, both inside the Council and outside as well. We have not only strengthened the efforts to combat terrorism, especially for example in financing of terrorism, we have also prevented efforts to dilute the focus on terrorism. The External Affairs Minister of India will be chairing a briefing on 19 August to discuss the Secretary-General’s report on ISIL/Da’esh.


  • There are also several mandated meetings scheduled for the month. You have the programme of work before you. These meetings are Syria (Chemical weapons), Syria (Political and Humanitarian), UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon), Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and the Middle East (Israel-Palestine) monthly meeting.


  • You are also aware that this morning we adopted a PRST on drawdown of UNAMID. We have also scheduled during the month adoption of mandate renewals on UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNSOM (Somalia) and Mali sanctions. There may be another resolution increasing the ceiling of MINUSMA. We have also kept adequate gaps in the schedule so as to allow for contingencies that may arise during the course of the month and where the Council could be called upon to play its role.


  • With this, I will open the floor for questions.


  • Thank you








Afghanistan is surely a great concern for India. What you think the Security Council can do to make it prevent further escalation in Afghanistan in the near future?


PR: I thank you very much for your question. The situation Afghanistan is of deep concern to all members of the Security Council. We have seen that recently, the violence is only increasing. And the UN reports, in fact, go on to say that the number of casualties during the period of May to June exceeds the number between January and April. Targeted killings are increasing, women, girls and minorities are being systematically targeted. You also know that there was an attack on a UN compound recently. And so I think, in fact, I expect that probably the Security Council will be looking at this aspect sooner rather than later on Afghanistan.


As far as India is concerned, I think we have mentioned very clearly that we want to see an independent, peaceful, democratic and a stable Afghanistan. India has supported every opportunity that can bring peace, security and stability in Afghanistan. And we are convinced that there should be an immediate ceasefire, we should address the question of violence, and the targeted attacks. These are of very serious concern, and all violence must come to an end. Ties with international terrorism should be cut. We cannot have terrorist camps once again going back into Afghanistan. This will have a direct impact on India. So a lasting political settlement through an inclusive Afghan led and Afghan owned and an Afghan controlled process, I think, is extremely important, because it's important for us to protect the gains which we have had in the last nearly 20 years. And there it's extremely important, once again, that we respect the aspirations of the Afghan women, the youth and the minorities. They need a safe and a democratic future. I think this is where we believe that that any government that comes to power in Afghanistan has to be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the people. So, consequently, we cannot have unilateral imposition of will by any party. And peaceful negotiation should be taken seriously by all the parties.


There is a need for the dialogue to be accelerated. I think these are concerns which are common to all the members of the Security Council. We have supported a leading role for the UN, since it will definitely help in a lasting and durable outcome to the discussions which are going on. A durable peace is important because the it has direct implication on the security and stability of Afghanistan and on the region itself. And durable peace requires a genuine double peace, which is peace within Afghanistan and peace around Afghanistan. So I'm hoping that when we start looking at this in the Security Council which I expect sooner rather than later we will look into all these aspects and see how best to support the peace talks which are going on.


Mr. Abdelhamid ABDELJABER (Al Ouds Al Arabi)

Thank you so much. Mr. Ambassador, I want to ask you both as a president of the Security Council and as a representative of India, India was ambitious for a possibility to become a permanent member of the Security Council. That includes the condition to uphold international law. There have been a number of Security Council resolutions that allowed the Kashmiri people to exercise self determination through a referendum. The provocative action of India in 2019, to cancel the special status of Kashmir raised many questions, I want to ask you to give us some ideas how this issue can be solved. And I want to tie it with the issue of Palestine. India is a great friend of the Palestinian throughout history. Now you have very special relation with the Israeli government. Also, have you used your leverage and your friendship with Israel also, to advance the rights of the Palestinian for self determination, statehood and independence? Thank you very much.


PR: Thank you. See, I think, right at the outset, I do want to make something very clear. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India. I think it's important to recognize that the issues relating to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are internal affairs of India. And, in fact, even among the members of the Security Council, I think almost all of them agreed that this issue was not for the Council to discuss.


I would just like to underline, because you had mentioned about Security Council resolutions, you will recall that the last agreement which India and Pakistan had signed goes back to 1972. This is the ‘Simla Agreement’. This agreement, in fact, has been mentioned by the Secretary General himself. This agreement of  1972  provides that the differences between the parties should be resolved by peaceful means, and by bilateral negotiations. So I think, since Pakistan has signed off on this, you will only hope that they will follow through on this and implement the provisions of the “Simla Agreement”.


You also mentioned about the constitutional changes which has been brought about in Jammu and Kashmir. These constitutional changes, if you recall, relates to the temporary provisions in Jammu and Kashmir, including Article 370 of our Constitution. Let me mention to you that the changes have been brought through established parliamentary procedures. And it is well within the framework of the Parliament of India to effect these changes. So any change or modification to Article 370, like any other provision of the Constitution, is the sole prerogative of the Parliament of the Republic of India. I just wanted to put this forward so that you're very clear on where we stand, both on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and the constitutional changes which were brought forward.


On the question of Palestine, let me just say that India's position has been quite unambiguous. And, you know, you have mentioned quite rightly, that we have been consistent in our long standing support for the Palestinian cause, and for the establishment of a sovereign, viable, and an independent state of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel. We have believed firmly in that only the two state solution will deliver enduring peace for all Palestinians and Israelis. This should be achieved through direct negotiations between both sides on all the final status issues. We have always stood ready to support all the efforts by our regional and the international partners to restart his negotiation and the Middle East peace process. We are convinced that we need a just, peaceful and the lasting solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.


We have been in touch with both the parties and we are looking at long term ceasefire. You know, the May 21 ceasefire was brought in due to concerted efforts of the international community. At this point, I think the Security Council's focus has been on the humanitarian aid, which they feel should be going to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority. So we want to work with the Palestinian Authority on this. And India has also contributed to capacity building in Palestine. In fact, we have pledged more than $70 million. This is not only for capacity building, but we also take on projects which are extremely important for the Palestinians. So I just wanted to put this entire issue in perspective. Thank you.


R. Madhu Sudan, Counsellor: Thank you. I would again request everyone as far as practicable to limit to one question each. I will now give the floor to Edie.


Ms. Edith LEDERER, Associated Press

Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador, Edith LEDERER, from the Associated Press, I have one question, but as a follow up to your three major meetings this month, can we expect any outcome documents either on maritime security on terrorism on peacekeeping? And then I'll ask my question.



Yes, at this point, we are discussing with the other delegations. An outcome document, as you know, is something which depends on all the others. It requires all 15 of us to agree. So we are looking at outcome documents, and let's see whether we can get there.


Ms. Edith LEDERER, Associated Press

Okay. My question is a related question on Afghanistan. A large number of women's rights supporters and faith leaders have called on the UN Security Council to authorize a peacekeeping force for Afghanistan under the women peace and security resolution. Is this an idea that India supports and that you think could ever have any legs, so to speak in the Security Council? Thank you.


PR: At this point of time, I think we are looking at how the talks shape up. And at this point of time, we are hoping that the talks will yield results. We are also clear that there will be no military solution. As I mentioned, it's extremely important for anyone who comes to power to have legitimacy. We don't want a unilateral imposition of will by any particular party on Afghanistan. So that is where the focus has been right now. I don't think we have quite come to the idea of a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.


Ms. Yoshita SINGH (Press Trust of India):

Thank you Ambassador and best wishes for the August Presidency of India. As you mentioned, one of the key focus will be counter-terrorism. India has been a victim of cross border terrorism from Pakistan for several decades now. And with India hosting the signature event on counter-terrorism in the context of the Secretary General's report on ISIL and D’aesh, do you think this report should also cover ban terror outfits like Pakistan based Jaish e Mohammed and  Lashkar-e-Taiba to send a strong signal against these countries that provide safe havens to terrorism and financing and also to strengthen the international global fight against terrorism Thank you.



PR: Thank you. The very fact that we are having a significant event on counter-terrorism, I think it's a very clear indication of the fact that we want to keep the spotlight on terrorism. And this is on all aspects of terrorism and not just about cross border terrorism. The terrorists are now using very sophisticated means to carry out attacks and this is causing a great deal of concern. So we want to discuss, for example, financing of terrorism. If you recall, during the high level week on counter-terrorism, India and France got together to do a side event, which was focused on this particular aspect of counter-terrorism. Our intention is to keep the spotlight on counter-terrorism.


You may have been following many of the statements which I have been making in the Security Council. I have always kept the spotlight on terrorism in the major areas of the world. ISIL has its reach all over the world. For example, one of the things which is of concern to all security council members is the increase in terrorism in Africa. I have said very clearly that you can only ignore it at your own peril. That's what I've been saying. Yes, as you correctly said, there are proscribed terrorists who have linkages with ISIL. And as long as these linkages exist, I think it is important for the Secretary General's report to be a comprehensive one, which covers these linkages. So this is of course the way we look at it.


Ms. Carla STEA (Global Research)

When, I believe was several years ago, the Prime Minister minister Imran Khan said that he had spoken with President Modi and had said to him, that both our countries have the same problem. And the problem is poverty. And I would like to ask you to comment upon the part that the growing inequality both within nations and globally, economic inequality is contributing to the growth and spread of terrorism.


PR: Thank you. You know, I just wanted to say very clearly, that India desires, normal, neighborly relations with Pakistan. Our consistent position on these issues is that if there are issues between India and Pakistan, it should be resolved bilaterally and peacefully. As I just mentioned we have the “Simla Agreement”, and which provides for a bilateral discussion and resolution of issues and issues should be resolved in an atmosphere, which is free of terror, hostility and violence. Therefore, right now, the onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere, including by taking credible and verifiable action, not to allow any territory under their control to be used for cross border terrorism against India. Pakistan must prove its consistency between words and its actions. So, this is our stand on what you just mentioned.


I also wanted to mention that when it comes to the question of dealing with inequality, inequities and various other aspects, India has been at the forefront. One of the the focus of Indian diplomacy and one of the priority areas is Development Partnership. We have pledged more than $13 billion as lines of credit. We have had thousands and thousands of training and capacity building slots, and we have done it all over the world particularly in places in Africa for example, and this is precisely to make sure that the we are able to contribute in a very constructive way to countries, small states, landlocked countries and see how we can contribute to the prosperity and the welfare of these countries. I think you also know about the India UN Development Fund. When COVID hit, for example, we repurposed the funds to tackle vaccines. Vaccine equity is yet another important aspects which we are looking at. So, your question goes much beyond just a question of tackling terrorism. It's a question of tackling the inequality and inequities between countries and I think India is at the forefront of this. On the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 you know India was one of the countries which said that this issue should be negotiated in the UN between states. And thanks to our efforts and thanks to efforts of like minded countries, it finally came to the UN to negotiate SDGs and now it is owned by all of us. India, I can assure you will be a huge contributor to ensure that to whatever extent we can, that these inequalities, inequities between countries can be addressed in a very purposeful manner.


Ms. Susan TEHRANI (WIONews)

Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, Susan,  from “WIONews”, India. Mr. Ambassador, one of the issues that you'll be tackling, as you mentioned, is maritime security. And you pointed to a number of issues that you'll be dealing with. I was wondering, or how confident are you that notably the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council might be all of them might be on the same page as you when it comes to maritime security and whether or not there might be some challenges in that regard? If, as was asked earlier, a document might come out, ultimately?


PR: Thank you. So I think I'll put it this way. Maritime security as a holistic concept is being discussed for the first time in the Security Council. And this is something on which I've received support from every member of the Security Council. We genuinely felt that given our own ethos, our own background, this deserves the attention of the Security Council. As I said, there have been areas like piracy, for example, where there have been resolutions. But there are other issues, which I just mentioned, which deserve a holistic consideration. Now, we are looking forward to a very robust participation in the meeting. His Excellency, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo has decided to participate because the AU is giving a lot of importance to the theme. So I can assure you that the importance which the members of the council give this to the theme is very much there. I'm really hoping that this engagement, which we hope to start, will be constructive. I mean, it is not aimed at anyone. I just wanted to reassure you of that. It is not meant to target one member or the other. We may have different views on what maritime security means for us, but I don't think anyone says that it is not important. So I am very happy that we are able to host this singularly important event in the Security Council.


Mr. Frank UCCIARDO (TRT World News)

Thank you, Ambassador for having this press conference. We appreciate it. We hope you'll have any more of these during the next month. Getting back to one of the issues. You talked about Afghanistan, do you believe that the US withdrawal was a good idea, timely, and that it may be imperiling stability of your region, and particularly the borders of your country?


PR: I don't think I would like to comment on a sovereign decision of a country. So I will let this question pass. It is the prerogative of the United States to decide what they want to do. And they have taken a decision. And I think it is important for us as the Security Council to ensure that we jointly support Afghanistan in bringing a democratic and a stable society, which will respect women and minorities.


Mr. Frank UCCIARDO (TRT World News)

What is the incentive for the Taliban to negotiate a piece of the deal?


PR: As I said, there is a requirement for certain legitimacy for the people who come to power. It is important for not just every member of security council, but also for all the neighbors, for the regional countries and for everyone else. And this legitimacy, you cannot get through unilateral actions. I think is an important incentive.


Ms. Michelle NICHOLS (Reuters)

Thank you, Ambassador, Michelle Nichols from Reuters. Good luck with the month. I just wanted to follow up on your comment on Afghanistan to Edith where you said, I don't think we've quite come to the idea of a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Do most council members seem to share that opinion? Has anyone raised the sort of prospect of a possible peacekeeping force down the line? And then just on UNGA, can we expect to see Prime Minister Modi here in New York, for the UN General Assembly?


PR: Frankly, I don't think the question of peacekeeping has been formally raised. But right now, I have been discussing with the Secretary General and the Undersecretary General. Their main concern is the safety and security of the UN mission. And, especially after the attack which took place in Herat, I think their focus is on the safety of these Missions. That is where I think the focus is on right now.


As far as my Prime Minister coming here, you know, he was here in 2019. But, we still don't know how the contours of the participation will shape up to be very frank, because we are still looking at the Delta variant. I have had discussions with the Secretariat before taking over the presidency. And they are assured me that so far, the precautions which we are taking inside the Security Council is adequate. But once again, there is always the question mark, how will it  shape up. So I think we will have to see how it goes.


Ms. Michelle NICHOLS (Reuters)

Very quick follow up. Is that just from talking to your other colleagues, other colleagues at the UN other ambassadors? Are most people sort of in that situation? Do you think they love to be here in person, but the Delta variant has kind of thrown a spanner in the works?


PR: No, I think I can only tell you my personal opinion on this. We have countries which are hopefully coming out one way or the other, and they are hoping that it will get better. And there are countries which are getting better. So, they may be in a position to travel. But there are a vast number of countries who have not yet come through on the vaccine curve. I think it's important that we respect the fact that they will not be able to travel physically. So the issue is to take all the countries along and see how can we be fair to all the countries, and especially those where the leaders cannot travel. This is what is probably, you know, being discussed among the various Ambassadors and PRs. We are hoping that we will get sort of a landing spot on that, which is fair to all the countries.


Ms. Kristen SALOOMEY (Al Jazeera English)

Thank you Ambassador Kristen Saloomey from Al Jazeera English. Just wanted to ask I don't see any Myanmar on the agenda this month. Was there any thought of bringing that up, given the briefing that the UK arranged last week that COVID is spreading exponentially they're in the security situation is not getting any better than the UN Security Council's back the ASEAN plan, but there's been no progress on that. Any desire to take that up in the council was that discussed?


PR: The members of the Security Council have been following the situation very closely. We have had consultations and private meetings and, in fact, the Council has made pronouncements on Myanmar. They have also expressed their strong support for the ASEAN initiative and the five point consensus. So I think as far as the Security Council is concerned, they are following it very closely. Right now, I think we are also having the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting. We were told that during that meeting they will be looking at the issue of the ASEAN Special Envoy and various others issues will be discussed. I think we have to give the ASEAN initiative a fair chance. I think the council members understand that, because we have collectively supported the ASEAN initiative. So I think it's important for us to give that space for ASEAN to go ahead and take their initiative forward. We do hope, of course, that this initiative will be expedited. That is something we will be looking forward to.



On Myanmar, thank you for what you just said that was I was going to ask the same thing. But could you give us a brief summary of India's policy with your neighbor,and including the criticism you've been getting regarding the rejection of asylum sealed seekers?


PR: Thank you for asking as it helps clarify our position on Myanmar. You know, Myanmar is an extremely important neighbor for us, we have nearly 1700 kilometers of land boundary with Myanmar. We also share a maritime boundary with Myanmar. We have civilizational links, historical links, political, economic and a range of links. So, what happens in Myanmar is extremely important for us and we have a direct stake in the situation in Myanmar.


As articulated in many of my statements earlier, our position on Myanmar has been fairly clear and consistent. We are deeply concerned about the developments in Myanmar; we have condemned the use of violence; we have urged maximum restraint. We believe that there can be no falling back on the path to democracy in Myanmar, and have called for upholding the rule of law and taking forward the democratic process in which we have actually invested in. We have called for the release of detained leaders. We have repeatedly called for engagement from their side without preconditions and for peaceful and urgent resolution. And so therefore, in the context in which I've just mentioned, we have like all the others, extended our support to the efforts of the ASEAN. We really hope that the ASEAN can move, as I said, expeditiously on their  efforts and also on the five point consensus. We need a constructive and also a coordinated approach. What we do not want is action on the part of the international community which will further destabilize the country, because any instability in the country will directly affect India. So this is broadly  our position.


As far as what you mentioned, on the rejection of people coming to India, it is completely incorrect. Frankly, I'm happy you gave me an opportunity to clarify, it's completely incorrect to say that we are rejecting people. We have several thousands of them in India. And I think it's important to understand that we have four states of India which are neighboring Myanmar, and some of them have similar ethnic links. So I think it's what what you mentioned is incorrect. And


Ms. Evelyn LEOPOLD (The NATIONAL): You don't reject those coming in?


PR: Not at all.



It is regarding the peacekeeping portion of your statements?

1. What kind of event are you planning for the peacekeepers?

2. What do you think can be done regarding the problem of impunity that people who attack peacekeepers face? And what do you think the council can do in that regard? Thank you.


PR: Thank you for the question. On the 18th of August, we hope to have the day in a way dedicated to peacekeeping. At around 9:15 a.m. or so in the morning, we would like to start with a solemn occasion  in the Peacekeepers Memorial, where we hope to have the External Affairs Minister of India and also his Excellency, the Secretary General present. External Affairs Minister will lay a wreath and both the dignitaries will say a few words.


After that, when we come to the Council, we are also discussing with others the possibility of doing something to look at a framework through which we can address impunity for crimes against peacekeepers. So we are discussing whether we can have a resolution for example, on this issue, because, from whatever I've been discussing with the Secretariat, I was told that the conviction rate is alarmingly low. We thought that it is important for us to address this. It is a matter of irony that peacekeepers are mainly in conflict situations and fragile states and it is difficult for us to expect the same state to also have strong legal framework to convict the people who commit crimes. So it is important for us to look at it in a manner in which we are reaching out to these countries and give them the necessary wherewithal as well as the necessary funds and the capacity building to address this. So, this is the context in which we are coming. We are discussing with others. Let me tell you that it has received a lot of support from countries because for us, protecting the protectors, as I said, is a very important aspect of what we are looking at.


After this, we are going to look at the theme of technology and peacekeeping. We feel that technology is extremely important, because the people whom they are combating are people who come with superior technology. We are hoping to work with the UN and not only strengthen the discussions through a possible outcome, but also see how we can do it in a very practical way.



As a follow up, do you think that the International Criminal Court could take up the issues of attacks on peacekeepers?



Now, we would prefer that these are issues which it should be tackled in the national framework in the national legislation framework, I think that's the best way of going about it.


Ms. Dulcie LEIMBACH (Passblue)

Hi, thanks. I just wanted to go back to the UN High Level week in September. So I thought, pretty much it had been decided it would be a hybrid format. So countries that actually can't make it to can send videos or project their videos, and then there will be, obviously opportunity for world leaders who have been vaccinated or have the access to get to the US. So is there continuing discussion then on the nature of the high level week? Or is it pretty much firmed up? Thanks.


PR: No, you're right. What I meant was that, every country has to take its own decision, whether they should be coming or not coming. And there are various factors which go into it. It is a question of travel, for example, there are countries who need to take two connecting flights or three. So a lot of other issues come in. Yes, there is a hybrid model for the high level week. But I think these are the other factors which will be taken and taken on board before each individual country can take a decision on whether the head of state or who else should come.


Ms. Dulcie LEIMBACH (Passblue)

Can I just ask our country's waiting to see if President Biden is coming? Is that part of the decide decisions?


PR: I think you're asking a question which should ideally be addressed to the United States.


Mr. Madhu Sudan, Counsellor: I think I have run over all the list that I had, unless anyone else wants to take the floor and ask a question. I will now move on to the virtual participants. I have only one request for question from Mr. Iftikhar. Please go ahead.


Mr. Iftikhar ALI (Associated Press of Pakistan) - Virtual

Thank you ambassador. Question about India, Pakistan and Kashmir have been asked may I addressed your comments with regard to the constitutional changes that you said were brought about by parliamentary procedures. Sir, the UN Security Council resolutions prohibit  any change of status in the disputed territory, and the Secretary General has also said that in 2019 statement, any comment sir?


PR: As I mentioned to you, these are constitutional changes, and these changes are within the purview of our Constitution. These changes are entirely the prerogative of the Parliament of India. So I don't think that at this point of time we are discussing anything else. I think it is absolutely legitimate on our parliament to pass laws and rules and regulations relating to Jammu and Kashmir.


Mr. Iftikhar ALI (Associated Press of Pakistan) - Virtual

I refer to you the Secretary General’s statement, who said any, any change in the status of Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of UN Security Council resolution.


PR: As I told you, Jammu and Kashmir is an integral, and in alienable, part of India. If there needs to be change in status, it is the vacation of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.


Ms. Carla STEA (Global Research)

Can you comment upon a statement that was made by Mr. Brahimi when he was I believe, after he was Foreign Minister of Algeria, he said “one of the reasons for the attacks on UN peacekeepers is because the UN is perceived as a party to disputes. And it is no longer perceived as an impartial, independent organization”. And this was, I believe, following the first resolution 678, which led to, according to Ramsey Clark, the destruction of the infrastructure necessary to support human life in Iraq. And I think it was a bad point in following the collapse of the Soviet Union that the UN was seen very much as, as being used. So could you comment upon what he said, and to what extent that's still the case?



See, I don't want to comment on what he has mentioned, it is his opinion, his view. But let me just underline the fact that peacekeepers, for example, when you take Indian peacekeepers, we have observed the highest standards of professionalism and we are very proud of it. And when the soldiers are involved in peacekeeping, they are bound by the mandate, and they strictly adhere to the mandate. There is no question of the peacekeepers taking sides, certainly not political sides. They are there to keep peace, and have a mandate to implement. One can always say that maybe the mandate… You know, there is a push by some countries to make the mandates more robust. They want to probably take on terrorism headlong through the peacekeeping forces. And there are countries which feel that maybe the mandate should be limited to what it is now. Once you have a very robust mandate, you're actually putting them right in the line of fire and endangering them. And there is also the other opinion, which says that the national security forces should take the lead in many of this, for example, in fighting terrorism, and it is not really up to the peacekeepers to do that. So I think there are various views on the question of mandates and how far it should extend. But when it comes to taking sides, I think there are many, many professional peacekeepers, and their sole role is to implement the mandate, protect the civilians, where they have been asked us to. For example, if you recall, we had the volcanic eruption in Goma. And it was Indian peacekeepers, in fact, who immediately went help the civilians to get out of the way. They were right there, even though the lava was flowing, and they helped them. That is what professionalism is about. We are also championing the cause on the fighting and combating sexual violence. India, as you know, provided the first contingent of all-women peacekeepers, and they actually went to Liberia. So therefore, we are looking at this in a way in which we can implement the mandate to the best of our ability. But I don't think a professional peacekeeping force takes sides. I don't think they are political. And I'm not very convinced that somehow the peacekeepers are being used, so to say, by the United Nations.


Mr. Madhu Sudan, Counsellor: We have one more request for the floor from David Wainer of Bloomberg.


Mr. David WAINER (Bloomberg) - Virtual

Thank you Ambassador, thanks so much for having this press conference. I'd like to hear from you publicly. If you can say something about the way in from India's perspective on the state of the Iran's nuclear talks. Clearly, we've been hearing from US officials and European officials looking increasingly hard to strike a deal, given the elections in Iran, how is this going to be addressed? Us? What is your view?


PR: I think your question pertains to, I suppose, the JCPOA. India has fully supported the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and the UN Security Council resolution 2231. We have always maintained that all the JCPOA related issues should be resolved peacefully, through dialogue and diplomacy. We have extended our support to all such efforts which help in constructively addressing and resolving the outstanding issues. We are convinced that all parties should adhere to their respective obligations under resolution 2231. As far as we are concerned, we can only hope that the ongoing engagement can result in a positive outcome. And that is what we are looking for, at this point of time. So I don't have any comments on that, per se. But we do hope that the ongoing engagement results in positive outcome.


Mr. Abdelhamid ABDELJABER (Al Ouds Al Arabi)

Yes, we want to thank you again, Mr. Ambassador. Many journalists have been targeted, journalists are paying their blood and their freedom around the world. And there was some calls for the Secretary General to appoint a special envoy on the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists. What are your views on this issue? Thank you.


PR: No, I must confess that, I've seen some of these statements. But I have not discussed it with the Secretariat or know what they exactly have in mind. Let me assure you very clearly, that we have always stood by journalists, we have always stood by civil society, and NGOs. And, since we have discussed Afghanistan, particularly in the case of Afghanistan, it has been a matter of deep concern that there has been a targeted attack on journalists and NGOs. But as you correctly said, this is not just in Afghanistan, it is happening elsewhere. And it's a matter of serious concern. There is no question that this should be addressed in a very purposeful manner. But on the very specific question, while I have heard about this I have not discussed it in that great detail of what the Secretary General exactly plans to do.


Ms. Michelle NICHOLS (Reuters) - 2nd time

Sorry, I'm so a very quick follow up just on Afghanistan and the attack last week in on the UN, or we see a statement from the Security Council on that.


PR: I think as you know, we have what is called the pen holder system. This is a system which I learned after coming here. The pen holders have evidently, you know, attempted a draft, and they are discussing with other countries. I do sincerely hope that the Security Council can talk about this and pronounce on this, which is extremely important at this juncture. The terrorist attacks and other attacks are not acceptable.  I hope the pen holders can persuade all the countries to come on the same page and issue a statement.


Mr. Madhu Sudan, Counsellor: Thank you. I think we have exhausted our list for now. Thank you everyone, again, for joining us today. And thank you for your support and your continued engagement. We will keep in touch with you as the month progresses. Thank you.


PR:Thank you. Thank you very, very much.