Distinguished Lectures Distinguished Lectures

India and the United Nations, its reforms and its role in a globalized world

  • Distinguished Lectures Detail

    By: Amb (Retd) Bhaswati Mukherjee
    Venue: Sikkim University
    Date: April 19, 2017

India’s commitment to multilateralism since Independence

  • Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of World War II and the twin tragedies of the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the Founding Fathers of the United Nations were determined that the UN should not go in the same direction as the League of Nations. Universal membership was essential as well as the firm determination, underlined in the Preamble of its Charter, signed on 25th June, 1945, to save "succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and "to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”. To that end the power structure of the Permanent Membership of the Security Council reflects the victorious powers of World War II with UK and France as Permanent Members and Germany and Japan outside the Council. India is neither a Permanent Member. Nor is any other major emerging State, such as Brazil. There is no African or Arab or Latin American Permanent Member. In 2017, this power structure appears obsolete and outdated. Permanent Membership of the Security Council is an essential element in India’s quest to strengthen international peace and security through the United Nations.
  • India, led by Sir A. Ramaswami Mudaliar to the San Francisco Conference in 1945, is one of the founding Members of the UN, having signed the Washington Declaration on 1st January, 1942 and having also participated at the San Francisco Conference from 25th April to 26th June, 1945. Under colonial rule at that time, Indian leadership even before Independence emphasised India’s commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN and underlined India’s determination to contribute to international peace and security, including and particularly in the field of peace keeping.
  • India is an original signatory and strong supporter of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on 10 December 1948 which when adopted by General Assembly established "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations”. It is important to underline that the Universal Declaration was adopted by vote. Three countries voted against: apartheid South Africa, Stalinist USSR and Saudi Arabia! This was followed by the adoption on 16th December, 1966 of the two International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and Civil and Political rights respectively, the international community established a set of universal human rights law, based on international standards, which complemented and strengthened the UN Charter. As a newly independent Member State of the United Nations India had participated in the negotiations under the chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, the first Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights that drafted the Declaration. Rajkumari Amarjeet Kaur was India’s representative at the London Conference. Later, India’s Constituent Assembly which drafted our Constitution and our political leadership ensured that India’s Constitution would contain the basic elements of the Universal Declaration, reaffirming our firm commitment to uphold the basic principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration. These include:

    Justice, social, economic and political;
    Liberty of thought, expression, faith, belief and worship;
    Equality of status and of opportunity, and to promote among them all Fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation.
  • The Charter upholds the commitment of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Signed on 25th June, 1945, the Charter in Chapter I of Article I reaffirms "the need to maintain international peace and security and to that end to take effective corrective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression.” Much has been spoken about Chapter VI relating to "Pacific settlement of disputes”. Simply spoken, Article 34 of Chapter VI "allows the Security Council to investigate any dispute or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.” This article has been used in the past by the Security Council to intervene in Iraq as well as Libya. Those who repeatedly sought to use this article to intervene in Syria could not succeed because of the absence of a consensus within the Security Council among the P-5 on international intervention to depose President Assad.
  • Permanent membership of the Security Council is an important and legitimate aspiration for India in order to play its rightful role in the maintenance of international peace and security. Absence of this membership weighed heavily on the Indian leadership in 1971 during the liberation of Bangladesh, with Kissinger’s famous "tilt” towards Pakistan, the USSR using its veto in the Security Council in favour of India and the American’s nuclear armed aircraft carrier "Enterprise” from its Seventh Fleet, moving steadily towards the Indian Ocean. Though this is now history, it underlines once again the importance of India’s permanent membership of the Security Council.
  • Establishment of UN Specialised Agencies followed. On disarmament and security, the most important Specialised Agency is the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the United Nations Nuclear Watchdog. India is a permanent member of the IAEA Board of Governors and plays a crucial role in its deliberations.

    India’s role at the United Nations
  • In its quest for global peace and security, India has played a leadership role in the United Nations General Assembly and in the Security Council. India has been a non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council seven times – 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, 1991-92 and 2011-12. In 2011-12, India received 188 of the 190 votes in the UN General Assembly. India’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, chaired the Security Council in 2012. India was one of the first countries to raise the issue of apartheid in South Africa at the United Nations and was one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1965. India voted with other developing countries to force apartheid South Africa to leave the United Nations. We were one of the first to welcome back a multi racial, multi ethnic and democratic South Africa to the UN.
    India’s nuclear doctrine at the United Nations and its evolution
  • India’s nuclear doctrine at the United Nations is in consonance with its commitment to achieve global disarmament and maintain international peace and security. India stands for total nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It is the only nuclear weapons state to demand total elimination of nuclear weapons. India rejected the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) as discriminatory since it sought to establish the status quo in favour of the then 5 existing nuclear weapon states, while imposing disarmament on the rest of the world. The premise that the Nuclear Weapon States would progressively disarm until complete disarmament was achieved was exposed as false at successive meetings of State Parties to the NPT. In fact, these States continued to increase the stockpiles of their arsenals, while insisting that the rest of the world remain non-nuclear weapon states.
  • In Pokhran in 1998, India demonstrated that it had the technology and the ability to defend itself in a hostile neighbourhood with one declared nuclear weapon state (China) and another that quickly transformed itself from a closet nuclear weapon state to a declared one (Pakistan). After the 1998 tests, the Indian Government established a National Security Advisory Board, which issued a Draft Report on Indian Nuclear Doctrine in 1999 that broadly outlined India’s nuclear no-first-use policy and posture of "credible minimum nuclear deterrence.” India does not maintain a constituted nuclear force on a heightened state of alert. The country’s nuclear weapons remain under the control of the civilian Nuclear Command Authority (NCA), comprised of a Political Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, which is "the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons.”
  • Our no-first-use policy (NFU) is based on our doctrine that while we would not be the first to use nuclear weapons, we would assuredly retaliate massively and inflict untold damage on our adversaries if attacked. This is our doctrine of credible minimum deterrence. This means that what matters is not the number of our weapons or our adversary’s weapons but our ability to inflict unacceptable damage in a retaliatory strike. Since our doctrine is based on NFU, our nuclear arsenal has to survive a first strike. Hence our decision to develop a triad of delivery systems, by land, sea and air.
    Is India rethinking its nuclear policy?
  • Recently, there have been suggestions that India may be reinterpreting its nuclear weapons doctrine. Analysts assessments, based on recent statements by Senior Indian Officials, are necessarily speculative. There are suggestions that India may be considering allowing pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in case of a war. This would not change India’s nuclear doctrine, which bars it from launching a first strike, but would loosen its interpretation to deem pre-emptive strikes as defensive. It would also change India’s targets in the event of a war, to make a nuclear exchange winnable.
  • Speculation increased after the launch of former NSA and former Foreign Secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon’s memoirs. He wrote: "There is a potentially grey area when India would use nuclear weapons first” against a nuclear-armed adversary. He added: "India might find it useful to strike first” against an adversary that appeared poised to launch nuclear weapon or "had declared that it would certainly use its nuclear weapons”. These signals may indicate a strategic shift intended to correct a strategic imbalance after Pakistan developed small nuclear warheads designed for battle-field use. In other words, Pakistan was intending to escalate a conventional war immediately to a low level nuclear war. Mr. Menon has addressed this issue in his book by stating "Pakistani tactical nuclear weapon use would effectively free India to undertake a comprehensive first strike against Pakistan.” ‘Comprehensive’ in this case would appear to refer to a nuclear attack against Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, rather than its cities. Clearly this shift is seen as a message to Pakistan that its quest for a limited nuclear war is too dangerous to pursue further.
    India-US Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
  • A key development in recent years has been the India-US Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, plans for which were first unveiled in July 2005. This agreement and the subsequent endorsement of India's case by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) enabled India to engage in international nuclear trade. In return, New Delhi agreed to allow safeguards on a select number of its nuclear facilities that are classified as "civilian" in purpose. The remaining "military" facilities remain off-limits to international inspectors. The agreement process required navigating a number of diplomatic and legal hurdles. The U.S. Congress passed the Hyde Act in January 2006 to exempt nuclear cooperation with India from provisions of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, allowing for the adoption of a bilateral 123 nuclear cooperation agreement in August 2007. In September 2008, the NSG approved an exemption allowing NSG members to conduct nuclear trade with India. A Safeguards Agreement for select civilian nuclear facilities was concluded between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in February 2009, after approval by the IAEA Board of Governors the previous year. In October 2009, India submitted a separation plan to put its 14 civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards by 2014. This plan has now been successfully implemented.
  • Following the NSG waiver, India signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia, France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia and Australia. India continues to participate in international nuclear trade. India is tightening its export controls for dual-use technologies in an effort to get membership into the Nuclear Supplier’s Group and other export control regimes. New Delhi is seeking membership to the NSG, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group. In January of 2015, India and the United States released a joint statement announcing that the two nations will work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group.
  • In arguing for NSG membership, we have portrayed ourselves as a responsible nuclear power, pointing to our positive record on non proliferation and consistent support for complete nuclear disarmament. We have maintained a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and support negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that is "universal, non-discriminatory, and internationally verifiable." At the same time, we have remained outside of the NPT, because of our hostile, nuclear weaponized neighbours. We have pointed out that "nuclear weapons are an integral part of our national security and will remain so pending the global elimination of all nuclear weapons.” We have, for the same reasons, not signed the CTBT. At the United Nations especially in the First Committee dealing with disarmament and in other relevant multilateral fora, we are and will continue to push for complete nuclear disarmament and elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
    India’s campaign for Permanent Membership of the SC
  • It is a matter of deep regret that the UN Security Council does not reflect current political realities. India’s credentials for permanent membership are well documented and recognised. A country of 1.3 billion with 160 million Muslims, India is the world's largest liberal democracy based on rule of law and human rights and world’s largest Muslim population. Its economy is US $ 1 trillion and it has also developed a credible nuclear deterrence based on no-first-use. India has an independent capability to place satellites in orbit, including production of the necessary launch vehicle. The International Herald Tribune recently stated: "Clearly, a seat for India would make the body more representative and democratic. With India as a member, the Council would be a more legitimate and thus a more effective body..." Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, said: "Sometimes I wish that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council could be chosen...with a vote by the fans... Then the permanent five would be Russia, China, India, Britain and the United States. That’s more like it. India is the world’s biggest democracy."
  • Participation in peace keeping operations is the key element of the credentials required for Permanent Membership in the Security Council. India is also the largest contributor to UN peace keeping operations, having contributed 1, 60,000 troops to 43 of 65 of UN peace keeping operations. More than 160 Indian defence and police personnel have laid down their lives serving under the UN blue flag. At present, Indian Armed Forces are part of 7 of the 14 ongoing UN peace keeping missions. The first deployment of Indian Armed Forces was during the Korean War in the fifty. Other operations include Indo-China, Congo, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. Foreign Policy magazine states: "India's international identity has long been shaped by its role in U.N. peacekeeping, with more than 100,000 Indian troops having served in U.N. missions during the past 50 years. Today, India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the U.N.'s five big powers combined." In supporting India's bid for a permanent seat on an enlarged Security Council, then US President Barack Obama cited "India's long history as a leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping mission". There has been no official comment so far from President Trump but it is expected that he will continue this policy.
  • India's bid for permanent membership of UNSC is backed by 4 Permanent Members, namely France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States. China maintains an ambivalent silence. It is understood that China is fundamentally opposed to Japan’s candidature and cannot support the G4 (India, Japan, Germany and Brazil) for that reason. In the General Assembly it is widely recognised that India is the only country with the support of a very large number of members of the United Nations. There are some exceptions including Pakistan - the only nation which specifically opposes India's candidacy. Pakistan is a member of the so called ‘Coffee Club’.
  • It is well known that the victors of World War II shaped the UN in their national interests, dividing the permanent seats, and associated veto-power, amongst themselves. Any reform to the Security Council would require an amendment to the Charter. According to Article 108 of the Charter:
    "Amendments to the present Charter shall come into force for all Members of the United Nations when they have been adopted by a vote of two thirds of the members of the General Assembly and ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by two thirds of the Members of the United Nations, including all the permanent members of the Security Council.”
  • The only significant reform of the Security Council came to pass in 1965.The reform included an increase of the non-permanent membership from six to 10 members. By 1992, Japan and Germany had become the second and third largest financial contributors to the United Nations and started to demand a permanent seat. Brazil and India along with Japan and Germany formed the G4. Regional rivals opposed to the G4 becoming permanent members with a veto power favoured the expansion of the non-permanent category of seats with members to be elected on a regional basis. Italy, Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt started to form an interest group, known as the "Coffee Club.” It is a group of ‘spoilers’.
  • India's bid for permanent membership of UNSC is backed by four Permanent Members of the Security Council, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States. Our candidature for Permanent Membership of UN Security Council took a great leap forward when the UN General Assembly adopted on 14th September, 2015 Decision 69/560 on Security Council Reform. This historic decision was adopted without a vote, despite opposition by China, Pakistan and others in the Group that now calls itself as "Uniting for Consensus” but is actually the reinvented "Coffee Club”. The negotiation process was further complicated by a change in the chief negotiator under US pressure. Moreover, every candidate state requires 129 positive votes i.e., a two-third majority of the 193 member states. The reform process appears to have hit a difficult road block.
    Latest development in UNSC reform
  • At the debate in the General Assembly in November 2016 on the issue of UNSC reform, it was clear that Member States remained divided over their respective visions for the Council, currently comprising five permanent members — China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States — and 10 elected members. There were differences of opinion on five core reform issues: membership categories, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and Council working methods.
  • More than 50 speakers shared their suggestions, perspectives and concerns. Many favoured bolstering representation for such emerging Powers as Brazil, Germany, India and Japan. While some spotlighted the progress made in recent years through the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform process, others voiced deep frustration that more had not yet been achieved.
  • Speaking at the debate, the Indian PR, Ambassador S Akbaruddin, aligned himself with the G4 Group, stressing the urgent need to reform the Council to be able to more effectively address human suffering and global security threats. Global governance structures had to be updated and adjusted to be able to deal with new security challenges. He noted that the lack of broad representation in the membership of Council added to its lack of legitimacy and credibility. Text-based negotiations would facilitate the process of moving the reform efforts forward. He welcomed the newly founded Group of Friends on Security Council Reform to encourage discussions that went beyond group interests.
  • Outgoing General Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) pointed out that the world had changed dramatically since the founding of the United Nations, with a quadrupling of its membership amid the global rise of terrorism, violent extremism and asymmetric warfare. "As we embark on the next phase of this Member State-driven process,” he said, "it is critical that we all acknowledge that meaningful progress will require genuine and open dialogue, bringing and receiving new ideas and working to find areas of agreement.” Advancing Council reform would remain a key priority for the Assembly’s seventy-first session. While the sensitivity and difficulty of those issues were understood, States would need to engage with greater flexibility. "We must ensure that [the Council] reflects the realities of the twenty-first century and is able to deliver on the purposes, principles and promise of the United Nations Charter,” he said.
  • For many speakers, the crux of the deadlock was the question of veto power, currently enjoyed only by the five permanent members. Liechtenstein’s representative said in that regard that the veto had repeatedly been shown to interfere with the Council’s effective functioning. He joined other speakers in expressing strong support for the code of conduct proposed by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, an initiative aimed at preventing veto use in cases of mass-atrocity crimes.
    Election of a new UN Secretary General
  • The process for selection of the United Nations Secretary-General remains a mystery to the general public. It reflects the opaque, non-transparent and male dominated structure of the UN Secretariat, whether in New York or in Geneva. Very little has been written about the actual selection process. The only guiding language is Article 97 of the Charter, which states: "The Secretary-General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.” In 1946, the General Assembly adopted a resolution stating that it was "desirable for the Security Council to offer one candidate only for the consideration of the General Assembly, and for debate on the nomination in the General Assembly to be avoided.” The selection is subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council. This minimal language has since been supplemented by other procedural rules and accepted practices. Traditionally, candidates from the P-5 members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), are not considered to avoid further concentration of power within the UN. Usually, the UN Secretary General has been the national of a small state, based on the belief that nationals with large state backing may take independent positions on important issues. As with regional rotation, this is a matter of precedent and convention, rather than a written rule.
  • Earlier in the campaign there had been expressions of support for a woman Secretary-General from Eastern Europe. Some commentators had speculated that the next SG should come from Eastern European Group, since that region has never been represented. In reality, after the end of the Cold War, membership of Eastern European Group, as opposed to WEOG (Western European and Others Group) has become a farce, since most members of the Eastern European Group are members of the EU.
  • The absence of a formal campaign has, as in past years, led to much speculation on potential candidates. Under pressure for transparency, the Security Council and General Assembly had taken steps towards rendering a more open selection process. In a break with the past, letters were sent to Member States asking them to nominate candidates. Previous Secretaries-Generals were chosen behind closed doors by the Security Council and then had their names submitted to General Assembly for ratification. No candidate to date has ever been rejected by the General Assembly.
  • After the process of nomination and informal dialogue and meetings with all potential candidates in April, 2016, the selection procedure reverted to the traditional process of straw polls behind closed doors by the Security Council to ascertain whether any candidate would face a potential veto by a P-5 member. This also indicates the level of support of the candidate. Traditionally, after two or three straw-polls, several candidates withdraw. The former Socialist Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Guterres remained the leading candidate. As Prime Minister of Portugal, Guterres had masterminded the first India-EU Summit in 2000. He had sought India’s support and had visited Delhi during his campaign.
  • In the end, it was a unanimous election by acclamation of the new United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. The winds of a new Cold War in the corridors of the UN did not deter the Americans and the Russians from agreeing to elect as UNSG a politician, diplomat and administrator of proven competence. Guterres has a formidable reputation of clean governance and strict administration, having cleaned up the UNHCR as its head and having effectively led it during the greatest migration crisis facing Europe after World War II. Earlier, as President of Portugal and as President of European Council he played an important role in finalising the Lisbon Treaty which ushered in a new and stronger European Union. His strong Socialist credentials helped in swinging a positive vote from Putin, during Russian Presidency of the Security Council under Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.
  • There were several factors that worked in favour of the Chief of UNHCR. The initiative by the earlier President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft to usher in a more inclusive and democratic selection process through the holding of a series of informal dialogues and meetings with all potential candidates from 12th to 14th April, 2016 worked dramatically in favour of Guterres. In contrast, the leading woman candidates and notably DG UNESCO Irina Bokova of Bulgaria did not fare well in the two-hour meeting slot to present her candidature. Guterres’ strong performance answering questions before the General Assembly had already helped to propel him to first place among the 13 candidates vying for the job in the informal straw polls in the Security Council. As a result, when the last Security Council straw poll was held on 5th October 2016, he emerged as the presumptive nominee, having 13 'encourage' votes, 2 abstentions and no 'discourage' vote in this sixth round. The Russians had blinked! Subsequently, the 15 member Security Council voted for Mr. Guterres by acclamation and forwarded his name to the General Assembly on 6 October, 2016. The 193 member states of the UNGA formally elected him by acclamation on 13 October, 2016. Mr. Guterres has taken over as the 9th U.N. Secretary-General from Ban Ki-moon on 1st January, 2017.
  • According to informal, high level sources, India which had already welcomed his election is of the view that the new UNSG will play a positive role on those issues which are of vital importance to India. Guterres, who has an India connection since his wife is from Goa and is of Indian origin, is fully aware of Indian sensibilities on the Kashmir issue. From our perspective, in a difficult international scenario and with increased tensions with Pakistan, the expectation is that the new UNSG would focus on crises situations which are directly impacting international peace and security. With his experience in UNHCR, he is also expected to play a positive role in slowing down the steady flow of migrants into Europe. His election also demonstrates that despite the prevailing tensions between the Russians and Americans, they are still able to agree if the situation warrants. This is a positive sign which the new Secretary General should use to his advantage in the interests of an emerging multi polar world.
    Concluding Reflections: India’s legacy at the UN
  • As a founder Member, India views the UN as a forum that could play a crucial role to guarantee and maintain international peace and security. Its quest for strengthening peace and security has not been an easy one with new and emerging challenges, some of which have been outlined above. India has worked with other partners to strengthen the UN system to combat new global challenges such as terrorism, piracy, disarmament, human rights, peace building and peace keeping. In this task, permanent membership of the Security Council flows as a natural concomitant of India’s great power status and its legitimate rights and obligations to ensure international peace and security in an extended regional neighbourhood as well as in the Indian Ocean. In the meantime, India is proactively pursuing a vigorous multi-lateral agenda, at a time when the world is facing these new challenges, based on its national security templates. In doing so, India is aware that its decisions in these areas have a major global impact as is normal in a globally interlinked world.
  • In its pursuit of international peace and security, India is fully aware that the strengthening of multilateralism through the United Nations represents the best hope in a troubled world with new and emerging threats such as non state actors such as the IS and Islamic fundamentalism. These new threats must be combated multilaterally. The US has recently bombed IS hideouts in tunnels in Afghanistan. There is tension building up in North Korea which is making threats of a nuclear attack. In our immediate neighbourhood, tensions are growing with Pakistan which is threatening to execute an innocent Naval Officer, Kulbhushan Yadav, on charges of ‘spying’ in Baluchistan. The reality is that he was kidnapped in Iran by the ISI and taken to Baluchistan. It is imperative that the US President Trump will understand the value of multilateralism, pursued through the United Nations and that the US will continue to play an important role in strengthening international peace and security through the UN. His new PR, Nick Hailey, who is of Indian origin, has recently made some positive comments in this context.
  • In a global context, foreign policy has come to be a mechanism by which a nation pursues its legitimate aspirations based on its national security interests externally through bilateral and multilateral agendas. We live in challenging times where the World order is being re-shaped, on one hand because of the decline of the West and rise of emerging States and on the other, because of the threat posed by international terrorism and non-state actors and more recently, the ISIS. This is compounded, in our case, by our hostile neighbourhood where especially in the context of Pakistan; the issue has always been how to engage and how much space to engage. Should we continue to engage? The response is that we should engage to the extent possible and we should simultaneously continue to pursue our national interests multilaterally.
  • Much has been written about India’s abiding legacy to the UN. Swami Vivekananda had said:

"India, for thousands of years, peacefully existed. Even earlier, when history had no records and tradition dares not peer into the gloom of that intense past, even from then until now, ideas after ideas have marched out from her, but every word has been spoken with a blessing behind it and peace before it. We, of all nations of the world, have never been a conquering race, and that blessing is on our head, and therefore we live.”

This message from India is more relevant than ever before in our quest to strengthen international peace and security through the United Nations.