Ban On Masood Azhar, Security Council Seat Top India's List At UN Meet

The UN General Assembly begins in New York later this month, which will be attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

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Ban On Masood Azhar, Security Council Seat Top India's List At UN Meet

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UN General Assembly 2017: Syed Akbaruddin said India will pursue a "give and take diplomacy" with China.

Washington: 

Highlights

  1. Last year, China blocked India's efforts for a ban on Masood Azhar
  2. The clock was "ticking" for Masood Azhar, said Syed Akbaruddin
  3. Sushma Swaraj to hold several bilateral, multilateral meetings
India is expected to press for a ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, indicated Syed Akbaruddin, India's ambassador to the United Nations. Last year, China had blocked India's efforts for a ban on the terror chief at the UN. But at the summit of BRICS - a block of emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, held in Xiamen  earlier this month - China had relaxed its stance and designated Jaish as a terrorist organisation.

This, Mr Akbaruddin said, holds out hope for "incremental progress". The clock, he said, was "ticking" for Masood Azhar" and India will "pursue him till the ends of justice are met".

The UN General Assembly begins in New York today and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will reach New York in the afternoon. Counter-terrorism will dominate the discussions between Minister Swaraj and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The other focus areas for India will be UN reform, action to curb climate change and peacekeeping. Her address at the General Assembly is scheduled for the morning of September 23.

On China, Mr Akbaruddin said India will pursue a "give and take diplomacy" rather than "winner takes all" strategy after the truce at Doklam, the area near Sikkim border, where the troops of two nations were eye-ball to eye-ball for more than 2 months.

China has repeatedly blocked India's efforts to get a permanent membership at the UN Security Council and the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group. Its diplomatic proximity to Pakistan has also ensured that on terrorism, India and China are not on the same page.

Asserting that reform at the UN is only a "matter of time" with US President Donald Trump openly supporting India's inclusion in the UNSC, the Ambassador said "nobody can keep one-sixth of humanity out of its rightful place".  

In June, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, a joint statement had said, "As global non-proliferation partners, the United States expressed strong support for India's early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group".

Ms Swaraj is expected to engage in more than two dozen bilateral and multilateral meetings, and make India's case on a number of forums, including the UN reform session presided by President Trump.

India, Mr Akbaruddin said, will give a "fitting response" if the Pakistan Prime Minister raises Kashmir during his address on Sept 21. "Kashmir has not been discussed on a formal basis at the UN for decades" and "if others focus on issues of a bygone era it is their prerogative," Mr Akbaruddin said.

A key diplomatic win is likely to be the international initiative on Solar Alliance spearheaded by India which requires only four more nations to ratify it.

Asked if India will support Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina proposal for Rohingya Muslims, Ambassador Akbaruddin told NDTV that India is "confident that process will ensure our tradition of not turning our back on the vulnerable and persecuted is maintained, as we balance our security concerns".

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