United Nations: India has said that UN Security Council reform is the "most urgent and pressing need" and called for inclusion of more developing nations in the decision making structures of the powerful world body.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that in order to preserve the "centrality and legitimacy" of the UN as the custodian of global peace, security and development, the reform of the Security Council is its "most urgent and pressing need."
"This is the need of the hour. How can we have a Security Council in 2015 which still reflects the geo-political architecture of 1945? How can we have a Security Council which still does not give place as a permanent member to Africa and Latin America?," she questioned.
Mrs Swaraj underscored the need for including more developing nations in the decision making structures of the Security Council and to change the way it does business by doing away with outdated and non-transparent working methods.
"Imparting more legitimacy and balance to the Council would restore its credibility and equip it to confront the challenges of our times," she siad.
"As with nations, so with institutions. It is only a periodic renovation that provides an organisation with meaning and purpose. In a world that continues to be dominated by wealthy and influential nations, the notion of sovereign equality of the UN has permitted the developing world to question some unfair norms.
"But it has not permitted a fundamental challenge to the inequity of a system built for a world that longer exists," Mrs Swaraj said.
She voiced India's appreciation for the leadership of former UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa and chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations Courtnay Rattray for putting on table a negotiating text, a significant achievement in over two decades of discussions.
"This first, but critical step, must be the springboard for action in this historic 70th Session of the UNGA," she said.
She said the UN has been successful in preventing a third world war, in assisting decolonisation and dismantling apartheid, in combating global epidemics and reducing global hunger, and in promoting democracy and human rights.
But at the same time it has not been able to prevent conflicts taking place in several parts of the world, she said.
"If we ask whether we were able to find permanent solution to these conflicts, the answer is no. If we ask whether we were able to show the path of peace to a world which is going on the way of violence, the answer is no.
"On these parameters, the United Nations appears as an ineffective institution in the area of international peace and security. It has failed to effectively address the new challenges to international peace and security," she said.
On UN peacekeeping operations, Swaraj said it cannot be a substitute for political solutions and called for the Security Council to formulate its peacekeeping mandates in consultation with troop contributing countries.
"India remains committed to continue supporting the UN Peacekeeping Operations and even enhance our contributions," she said.
She said India's new contributions will cover all aspects of peacekeeping - personnel, enablers and training.
She, however, called for the Security Council to formulate its peacekeeping mandates in consultation with those countries which provide troops for peacekeeping operations as provided for in the UN Charter.
Voicing India's continued commitment to international peacekeeping operations, Swaraj said it has been India's view that these operations cannot substitute for political solutions, a fact that has been underscored by the High Level Independent Panel as well.
"Equally, there can be no dilution of the cardinal principles of peacekeeping, which are consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force other than for self-defence and defence of the mandate," she said.
She said that the safety of peacekeepers, security of nations and the future of the international community itself is now dependent on how it responds to the greatest threat of terrorism.
With 180,000 peacekeepers deployed so far, India has been the largest provider of international security by the UN. Even today, about 8,000 Indian military and police personnel are participating in 10 Missions, operating in highly challenging environments.
Paying tribute to more than 3,300 peacekeepers including 161 from India who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Swaraj said India stands ready to contribute to the Peacekeepers Memorial Wall, which has been approved by the 69th General Assembly.
On refugee crisis, she said the international community has not done enough to address it due to the conflict situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya and a swift response backed by political will is the need of the hour.
She highlighted that India's own response in its neighbourhood to humanitarian crises has been "quick, responsive and holistic."
"Whether it was Nepal or Yemen, India has emerged as a net security provider, assisting not only our nationals but those of other countries that sought our help," she said.
She also voiced India's commitment to the Middle East Peace Process which is the key to prevent further radicalisation of the region.