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Aug 01, 2011 at 06:54pm IST

India takes over UNSC Presidency for August

New Delhi: India on Monday took over the Presidency of the UN Security Council on Monday. Last October, India made history by winning an almost unanimous vote, making it a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The spotlight is back on India as it gets set to take up the Presidency of the council after 19 years.

During its month long tenure Indian diplomats rather ambitiously hope to broker a ceasefire in Libya.

India's Envoy to the UN Hardeep Puri spoke on UN Radio and said, "I'm particularly worried about the situation in Libya. With the month of Ramadan, prayer and fasting starting on August 1, we would be happy if there could be a cessation of hostilities."

They also want to focus on peacekeeping. India is among the biggest contributors of troops for UN peacekeeping operations but is peeved over its lack of clout in framing the mandate for such operations. The mandate determines how forces are used. The problem is that Indian troops in the Congo are facing charges of sexual abuse and an army investigation is now underway in Meerut.

"We are hoping to utilise the stay on our council not only to re-establish our credentials, but also to work out what can be done for us to have a more enduring presence. I don't think our presidency will do anything for our permanent membership. That has to be done with the GA process," Puri said.

Indian diplomats are clearly impatient to make their mark during this presidency, but they are also aware that whether on Libya or peacekeeping operations, they will need to work keeping in mind the sensitivities of the powerful permanent members of the security council.

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