General Assembly Security Council

Permanent Mission of India to the UN

New York

Statement by Ambassador Bhagwant Bishnoi, Acting Permanent Representative of India in the General Debate on Conflict Prevention at the United Nations Security Council, 21 August, 2014


Mr. President,

1. I thank you for giving me the floor.  I also thank the Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the briefings that they have provided.


2. We welcome the opportunity of sharing our views on the subject of conflict prevention which cannot but be of the utmost importance to the membership of the United Nations.  We do note, however, that decisions are taken by the Council before the views of non-members are heard.  We, therefore, wonder as to what purpose an open debate serves.


3.We have perused the concept note prepared by your Presidency with great interest.  To be honest, it would be difficult to say that we are wiser after having done so. But then, that may have to do with the subject that we have at hand today.


4 The concept note refers to the need for the Security Council to move from a culture of action to one of prevention.  In general terms, it would be difficult to take exception to that.  But, equally important, if not more so, is the need for the Council to establish a culture of introspection.


5. It is not that the Council has not had the tools that are required for it to fulfill its responsibilities.  The fact is that the Council has decided to use these tools selectively and on the occasion that it has suited the convenience of those who have taken the decision.  These are political issues and it is not as if they can be resolved by any technical fixes.


6. The concept note refers to the need to respect the prerogative of national authorities to resolve internal crises.  This, we believe, is a cardinal principle. We are convinced that the interventionist trend, using humanitarian concerns as a pretext, runs the danger of exacerbating conflict between and within countries.  The Council should be cognizant of the fact that the developing world consists of nascent sovereignties and its actions should not be such as to revive the insecurities of a bygone era.


7. The concept note also refers to the Council using innovative approaches and taking forward the idea of preventive missions.  We would advise abundant caution. Unless help is requested by sovereign governments, imposing solutions from outside can easily be a recipe for instant disaster.


8. Reference has been made to the role of the Secretary General and of his so-called ‘good offices function’.  Once again, only a role that is acceptable to all parties can be tenable. Anything else would be perceived as interference and would be counter-productive.


Mr. President,

9. While action by the Council under Chapter 7 is binding on all member states of the United Nations, the efficacy of most of the conflict prevention tools that are available to it depends on its moral authority. The moral authority, however, can only be limited if the composition of the Council is demonstrably out of touch with ground realities.  The fact is that the Security Council is today seen as neither representative, nor reflective of the aspirations and views of the larger membership.  It is only when the composition of the Council is reformed and it is seen as being responsive to the needs and wishes of the general membership, will its actions have the moral force that is required for them to be accepted in good faith and acted upon.  This, in our view, is a matter that would greatly benefit from introspection.