United Nations: India told the UNSC that it has always strived to foster global solidarity across the world with its development partnership efforts fully respecting national priorities and ensured that its assistance does not create “indebtedness”, in an apparent swipe at China.
Addressing the UN Security Council open debate on ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Exclusion, Inequality and Conflict’ held under the current Presidency of Mexico, Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said whether it is with India’s neighbors under the “Neighbourhood First” policy or with African partners or with other developing countries, “India has remained and will continue to be a source of strong support to help them build back better and stronger.”
“India has always strived to foster global solidarity across the world with our development partnership efforts fully respecting national priorities and ensuring that our assistance remains demand-driven, contributes to employment generation and capacity building and does not create indebtedness. This is particularly true in countries in the post-conflict phase,” Singh said.
Singh’s remarks appeared to be a thinly-veiled reference to China.
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There have been global concerns over debt traps and regional hegemony by China using its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. China is doling out huge sums of money for infrastructure projects in countries from Asia to Africa and Europe. The Donald Trump administration had been extremely critical of the BRI and had been of the view that China’s ”predatory financing” is leaving smaller counties under huge debt endangering their sovereignty.
Singh further said that international efforts in the maintenance of peace and security need to be inclusive. The process of implementing a peace agreement must run along with the provision of humanitarian and emergency assistance, resumption of economic activity, and the creation of political and administrative institutions that improve governance and include all stakeholders, particularly women and disadvantaged sections.
“We also need to avoid politicizing humanitarian and developmental assistance in conflict situations. The humanitarian action must be primarily guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence,” he said.
India also stressed that the international community needs to “walk the talk” by ensuring a predictable and enhanced flow of resources to countries in the post-conflict phase. The developmental assistance in line with the national priorities should go a long way towards sustainable peace.
Further, he said it is important to actively support the post-conflict reconstruction agenda, particularly in Africa, and in this regard, the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s efforts should be strengthened.
“These efforts should include prioritizing the needs of the host state and coordinating the role of international financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society organizations,” Singh said.
Singh noted that some regional and sub-regional organizations have become more capable of addressing the conflict situations and member states have reposed faith increasingly in their capacity, bringing positive synergy to the actions of the UN and Security Council.
“The Security Council has the responsibility to support this trend and encourage and enable those regional and sub-regional organizations,” he said adding that India believes the existing framework of cooperation such as the Joint UN-AU Framework for an enhanced partnership in Peace and Security needs to be implemented more proactively.
Initiatives such as AMISOM, G-5 Sahel Joint Force, and Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) need more robust support from the Security Council and the international community.