... for openness and credibility....



Indian Naval Ship Talwar’s Port Visit to Bahrain, Manama, 18 March 2021.

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Talwar (F40) made a port call at Mina Salman from 15 March to 17 March 21.

In the framework of the deep-rooted friendly ties, multi-faceted and growing cooperation between India and the Kingdom of Bahrain, this visit by INS Talwar provided a boost to the friendly relations.

The ship during its stay at the Port followed all laid down COVID protocols and utilised the time for maintenance and training. The ship’s Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) Team interacted with US Coast Guard Maritime Engagement team (under USN NAVCENT) and visited the ‘Ship-in-a-Box’ facility wherein it exchanged   best   practices   with   the professionals from US Coast Guard at Bahrain. 

H.E.  Mr. Piyush  Srivastava,  Ambassador  of  India  to  the  Kingdom  of Bahrain  paid  a  visit  to  the  Indian  Ship. Ambassador Piyush Srivastava lauded   the   dedication   and   professionalism of team ‘Talwar’ whilst undertaking Op Sankalp and   had   warm   words   of   appreciation   for assistance provided by her to MV Nayanat Sea. He also remarked that the presence of the ship in the Gulf region provides reassurance to the maritime community.

The ship also undertook the Harbour phase for planning the Passage exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Bahrain Naval Force representatives and finalised the schedule of exercises. The ships of the two navies during the PASSEX   are   undertaking   various   exercises   such as   Sail   Together, exchange of Signals and manoeuvring at Close quarters. The exercises will foster interoperability and reflect the commitment of both nations to build cooperative partnerships in meeting emergent maritime challenges. It will also serve as a catalyst for future engagements between Indian Navy and Royal Bahrain Naval Force.

The ship continues to be deployed in the Gulf region to support the safe transit of Indian flagged merchant ships through the Gulf region and is in pursuance of Government of India’s commitment towards ensuring the safety of Indian Flagged Merchant vessels. Source: Embassy of India, Manama.

Senior Officials' Meeting between India and Kingdom of Bahrain, New Delhi, 31 March 2021.

In preparation for the third meeting of the India-Bahrain High Joint Commission (HJC), a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was held on March 31, 2021 in virtual mode. The SOM was co-chaired by Mr. Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs of India and H.E. Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Under Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Both sides highlighted their strong bilateral ties spanning a wide range of areas and which was also reflected in the excellent cooperation between the two countries in handling Covid-19 situation. Both sides also reviewed their cooperation in different areas, including oil and gas, trade and investment, defence and security, food security, healthcare, renewable energy, space, IT, human resource, education and culture.

The third India-Bahrain HJC will be held in New Delhi on April 7, 2021. The meeting will be co-chaired by Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India and H.E. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


India-Egypt Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment, Cairo, 04 March 2021.

The first JWG meeting on Trade and Investment between India and Egypt was held on 3rd March 2021 virtually. The meeting was chaired by Shri Praveen Kumar, Director, Department of Commerce from the Indian side and Mr. Michael Gamal Kaddes, General   Director   of   Bilateral Trade Agreement, Ministry of Trade and Industry from the Egyptian side.

The discussion between the two sides covered the need for expansion of the trade basket, improvement in bilateral investments and discussed issues faced by exporters and importers from both the countries.

The Indian delegation witnessed participation from Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA); Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC); Plant Quarantine Division of Ministry of Agriculture; India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and Invest India. The Egyptian delegates represented Egypt Expo & Convention Authority (EECA); Egyptian Customs Authority; General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI); Central Administration of Plant Quarantine and Plant Health Unit, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation; Export Development Authority (EDA); General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) and National Food Safety Authority (NFSA).

The bilateral trade between India and Egypt during FY 2019/2020 was to the tune of$4.5 bn. Source: Embassy of India, Cairo.

Four Point Plan chalked out by the department of Commerce to deal with Blockage of Suez Canal, New Delhi, 26 March 2021.

A Four-point plan has been chalked out to deal with the situation arising from the blockage of Suez Canal. This plan was chalked out in a meeting convened by the Logistics Division, Department of Commerce, Government of India today.

The meeting was chaired by Shri Pawan Agarwal, Special Secretary (Logistics) and attended by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, ADG Shipping, Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA) and Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO). This plan includes –

Prioritisation of cargo: FIEO, MPEDA and APEDA will jointly identify cargo particularly perishable cargo for priority movement and work with the shipping lines for the same.

Freight Rates: CSLA assured that the freight rates as per existing contracts will be honoured. A request has been made to the shipping lines to maintain stability in freight rates during the period of this crisis.  It was noted that the situation is temporary and is unlikely to have a long-lasting impact.

Advisory to Ports: Once the blockage is over, it is expected that some bunching may take place, especially at the ports of JNPT, Mundra and Hazira. Ministry of Ports, Shipping and waterway assured to issue an advisory to these ports so as to gear up arrangements and ensure efficient handling during the forthcoming busy period.

Re-routing decisions: Shipping lines were advised through CSLA to explore the option of re-routing of ships via the Cape of Good Hope. It was pointed that such re-routing usually takes 15 additional days’ time.

Blockage of Suez Canal since 23rd March 2021 is seriously hitting the global trade. This route is used for Indian exports/imports worth US$ 200 Bn to/from North America, South America and Europe. It includes petroleum goods, organic chemicals, iron & steel, automobile, machinery, textiles & carpets, handicrafts including furniture, leather goods, etc.

It was noted in the meeting that over 200 vessels are waiting on the North and South sides of the Suez Canal and about 60 vessels are getting added to the queue on a daily basis. If two more days are taken before the efforts result in clearance of the canal (digging on both sides, extra barges being added on every high tide, tugboats, etc. to straighten the stuck vessel), the total backlog created would be about 350 vessels. It is estimated that this backlog should take about a week’s time to clear out.  It was decided in the meeting to closely monitor the situation. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).


Second batch of 20,000 litres of Malathion 95% ULV pesticide supplied to Iran as humanitarian assistance to fight locust threat, New Delhi, 18 March 2021.

A second batch of 20,000 litres of Malathion 95% ULV pesticide is being supplied by India to Iran under a Government-to-Government Locust Control Programme. The consignment reached Chabahar Port and was handed over to Plant Protection Organization, Government of Islamic Republic of Iran on 18 March 2021.

It would be recalled that India had approached Iran and Pakistan for a coordinated regional response to the threat to approaching swarms of desert locusts. It was in this context that Iran had requested the supply of pesticides. There was no response from Pakistan.

India supplied the first tranche of 20,000 litres of Malathion to Iran in June 2020. The second tranche of 20,000 litres for Iran has been handed over on 18 March 2021. Source: Embassy of India, Tehran.


Joint Statement on Establishment of Joint Commission between the Government of the State of Kuwait and the Government of the Republic of India, New Delhi, 18 March 2021.

1- The Government of the State of Kuwait, and the Government of the Republic of India, desirous to enhance and deepen the ties of fraternity and friendship, and support ways of cooperation in all fields in service of the common objectives of both countries, decide to establish a Joint Commission. The meetings of the Joint Commission called Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) will be held regularly to review all bilateral matters.

2- The Joint Commission will be charged with formulating the required basis to strengthen the relations between the two countries, particularly in the fields of - Energy, Trade, Economy, Investment, Human Resources, Manpower and Labour, Finance, Skills, Culture, Science & Technology, Information Technology, Health, Education, Defence and Security. The Joint Commission will also review Agreements concluded between the two countries and find suitable solutions for any issues in their implementation.

3- The Joint Commission Meeting will be co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait; and the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India and shall be attended by ministers or senior officials representing them and may include in its participation experts concerned with subjects of cooperation that the Commission undertakes to discuss.

4- The Joint Commission Meeting will be held in each country alternately, at a mutually agreed time. The existing working groups/ dialogue mechanisms shall be brought under the umbrella of the Commission.

5- The Joint Commission may consider establishing new Joint Working Groups as appropriate on the subjects of Trade and Investment; Defence, Security and Maritime Cooperation; Science, Technology and Information Technology; Education and Skills Development; Culture, Tourism and Hospitality.

6. The Joint Working Groups shall meet regularly, in-person or through video-conferencing as the situation demands. Reports of the JWGs will be presented at the Joint Commission Meeting. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


Signing of MoU between Delhi University and Lebanese University, Beirut, 04 March 2021.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Delhi University and Lebanese University was recently finalized. The Delhi University recently signed the MOU on its side. Today the President of Lebanese University, Dr Fouad Ayyoub signed the MOU from the Lebanese side. The signing ceremony was attended by Ambassador of India to Lebanon, Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan and other officials of the Embassy.

Lebanese University is the largest State University in Lebanon and has more than 90000 students all across Lebanon. Similarly, Delhi University has more than 130000 students and is one of the most prominent universities in India and also an institute of eminence. This is the first MOU between state universities of India and Lebanon. The MoU will help in establishing collaborative relations between the two Universities and will also promote friendship and cooperation between the two Universities.

During the occasion, Ambassador Dr. Suhel Khan, also donated a set of books on India to Dr. Ayyoub. These books will be kept in India corners in various libraries of Lebanese University. Source: Embassy of India, Beirut.


Qatar Participates in Maritime India Summit 2021, Doha, 02 March 2021.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the second edition of the 3-day Maritime India Summit 2021 (MIS 2021) on March 2, organised by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) jointly with FICCI as an industrial partner and EY as a knowledge partner.

Qatar was represented by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti. He participated in the inaugural session as well as the ministerial session. He spoke about India-Qatar traditional trade links and possibilities of collaboration in shipping, maritime and ports. Source: Embassy of India, Doha.


Telephone conversation between Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, New Delhi, 10 March 2021.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation today with the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman.

Both leaders reviewed the functioning of the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council established in 2019, and expressed satisfaction about the steady growth in the India-Saudi partnership.  Prime Minister expressed his desire to further expand trade and investment between the two countries, and highlighted the opportunities that the Indian economy offers to Saudi investors.

The leaders agreed to continue supporting each other's efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, in the spirit of the special friendship and people-to-people links between India and Saudi Arabia.  They also reviewed regional and international developments of mutual interest.

Prime Minister reiterated his invitation to HRH the Crown Prince to visit India at an early date. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).


UNSC briefing/consultations, Middle East (Syria)-chemical weapons, India Statement by Mr. R. Ravindra, Deputy Permanent Representative, New York, 04 March 2021.

Madam President,

I would like to thank Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing.

2. We have taken note of the monthly report submitted by DG OPCW on the ‘Progress in the Elimination of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme’ which provides information about the activities of the OPCW in implementing Security Council resolution 2118 (2013), as well as the activities of its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT).

3. We are encouraged to learn that the 24th round of consultations between the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and the relevant Syrian authorities took place from 7-25 February 2021. We hope that these consultations will help in addressing the reported gaps and inconsistencies in the declaration. We have also taken note of the extension of the tripartite agreement among the OPCW, Syria and UNOPS. We hope that this six-month extension agreement will be signed soon.

4. India has provided a financial contribution of US$ one million to the OPCW Trust Fund for activities relating to the destruction of chemical stockpiles and related facilities in Syria. We believe that the continued engagement and cooperation between Syria and the OPCW Technical Secretariat is critical for the early resolution of all outstanding issues. India has consistently underlined the need for an impartial and objective investigation into any alleged use of chemical weapons, scrupulously following the provisions and procedures laid down in the Convention. Any concerns or differences should be addressed on the basis of consultations among all concerned parties. In our view, politicization of the issue will result in parties taking extreme positions jeopardizing ongoing efforts towards resolution.

5. Whether it is alleged use of chemical weapons, humanitarian issues or political processes, we need greater efforts for seeking congruence of positions, both within the Council and beyond, to see meaningful tangible progress on the ground in Syria. India is willing to work with other likeminded delegations towards fostering unity in the Council on all issues concerning Syria.

6. As one of the worst sufferers of the scourge of terrorism, India continues to call on the Council to remain cognizant, at all times, of the dangers of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorist groups. We have consistently underlined the need for preventing terrorist groups from taking advantage of the decade long conflict in Syria and entrenching themselves, thereby posing a threat to the entire region. Reports of the resurgence of ISIS in the region are being heard with increasing frequency. The SG’s latest report on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) alludes to the incubation of the terrorist threat in displacement camps and detention facilities in the northeast of Syria. Undoubtedly, the role of certain players in the Syrian conflict has re-energized terrorist activities in the region.

7. India has consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria. We have also contributed to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria through humanitarian assistance and human resource development, most recently through the delivery of 2000 MT of rice in February. We have also called on all parties to not link the humanitarian and developmental work with progress on the political track. We stand ready to work with humanitarian relief agencies led by OCHA and UNDP in devising a suitable vaccination relief programme for the country and West Asia as a whole.

8. Let me conclude by reiterating our support for efforts towards attaining lasting durable peace in Syria. I thank you Madam President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to UN.

UNSC briefing/consultations on Syria-Political, Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 15 March 2021.

Thank you, Madam President.

Let me begin by thanking Special Envoy Mr. Geir Pedersen for his briefing on the recent developments in Syria. He has travelled to Damascus, as well as to Moscow and Sochi and held meetings with important stakeholders. I thank him for his candid views reflecting the current state of play and his assessment of the situation. It is indeed disheartening that as we approach the 10th year of conflict in Syria, peace and stability unfortunately remain elusive to the country and its people.

2. The political transition in Syria facilitated by the UN is not an exclusive process. The five rounds of meetings of the drafting body of the Syrian constitutional committee have resulted in very little progress. External influence is also adversely impacting the process.

3. The situation on the ground does not present an optimistic picture either.   It will be unrealistic to expect any dramatic outcomes in the near future, unless the international community takes decisive collective steps in the right direction and bridge differences.  If we are serious about achieving progress, we need to have greater convergence of views and act to strengthen the hands of the Special Envoy.

4. Constructive international diplomacy is the need of the hour to bridge existing divides by focusing on mutual and reciprocal steps.  We believe that delinking the humanitarian and developmental work with progress on the political track will help in creating a conducive environment of trust and confidence. We welcome the 15th round of the International Meeting of the Astana process held last month in Sochi. We call on all parties to the conflict to show political will and statesmanship to break the current impasse in the working of the Constitutional Committee.

5. The Syrian conflict and involvement of external actors has contributed to the growth of terrorism in Syria and in its neighbouring countries. This has been reiterated in the latest report of the Secretary General on the threat posed by ISIL.  We express our serious concern with the increased presence and terrorist activity of “Hayat Tahrir alSham” and other affiliated terrorist groups that pose a threat to civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation area. It is imperative that all parties adhere to their international obligations to fight terrorism and terrorist organizations in Syria, as designated by the Security Council.

6. India firmly believes that long-term security and stability in this region, can only be achieved by preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We also remain convinced that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and reaffirm our commitment to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

7. Madam President, the 10-year long Syrian conflict has brought untold suffering to the Syrian people.  The Covid-19 pandemic has further compounded the situation, posing serious challenges to the fragile health infrastructure. There is an urgent need to increase humanitarian assistance to all Syrians throughout the country without discrimination, politicization, and any preconditions. The humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, calls for relaxation of sanctions imposed on Syria. The international community must act with a sense of urgency to help the Syrian people.

8. We remain convinced that all efforts towards improving the humanitarian situation in Syria, will positively impact the political track as well. We call upon the wider UN system, in particular the WHO and OCHA, to prioritize the vaccination programme in Syria, including through the COVAX initiative.

9. As we have mentioned in our earlier statements on Syria, India has extended developmental assistance and human resource development support to Syria regularly. These include lines of credits for developmental projects, supply of medicine and food, artificial limb fitment camp and capacity building training programmes for Syrian nationals. We reiterate our commitment to continue these initiatives, in support of people of Syria.

10. Finally, on this tenth anniversary of the conflict, let us reaffirm our resolve to help the people of Syria. India stands ready to continue to render all possible help and support to the Syrian people.

I thank you Madam President. Source: Permanent Mission of India of the UN.

UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen, India Statement by Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu, Deputy Permanent Representative, New York, 16 March 2021.

Thank you, Madam President. I would like to thank the briefers for their updates on the situation in Yemen.

2. We are concerned at the recent escalation in hostilities in several parts of Yemen, especially in Marib. The reports of military confrontations in Taiz, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates are also deeply concerning. These confrontations have resulted in several casualties, extensive destruction and renewed displacement of civilians. We deeply regret the loss of valuable human lives, including in the fire accident at the immigration holding facility in Sana’a and convey our heartfelt sympathies to the families of those affected. The current escalation will also provide opportunities for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to spread their presence in Yemen, which is worrisome.

3. We condemn the drone and missile attacks launched by Ansarallah into Saudi Arabia and the deliberate targeting of civilian and energy infrastructure in the country. We call upon all parties to the conflict to eschew violence and to take meaningful steps towards dialogue and negotiations for a political settlement.

4. Two years ago, when Yemen was faced with a perilous situation in Hudaydah, the international community had acted swiftly and decisively, which resulted in the signing of the Stockholm Agreement and averted a humanitarian catastrophe. A similar focused diplomatic push is required now, not only to stop the battle for Marib, but also conflicts elsewhere in the country.

5. The already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen requires the full attention of the international community. We welcome the efforts by OCHA, Sweden and Switzerland to host the high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The outcome may be disappointing, but the continued pledges from Yemen’s regional partners to support humanitarian and aid operations in the country and the enhanced contribution of some donor countries give reasons for hope. India stands ready to continue its assistance to the people of Yemen. We will  continue to facilitate the medical treatment of people of Yemen travelling to India.

6. We are disappointed that recent talks on exchange of prisoners and detainees have ended without any agreement between the parties. We hope to see the resumption of talks in the near future.

7. We appreciate UN’s engagement with Ansarallah on the SAFER oil tanker issue. All pending issues related to logistical and security arrangements must be resolved urgently and the UN technical team will get the access to inspect the vessel soon.

Madam President,

8. Let me also add my voice of support to the contribution made by the women of Yemen to peace efforts in the country. The promises made in the National Dialogue Conference outcomes and enshrined in Yemen’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security must be fulfilled.

9. In conclusion, Madam President, let me reaffirm India’s strong commitment to Yemen’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. India has strong and historical ties with Yemen and its people and we hope to see peace return to Yemen soon. I once again urge all parties to refrain from violence and engage constructively in good faith with the Special Envoy to bring about a lasting political settlement in the country.

 I thank you Madam President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN

UNSC Briefing on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 24 March 2021.

Thank you, Madam President. Let me begin by thanking Special Envoy Jan Kubis for his briefing. I also welcome the Ambassador of Libya Taher Elsonni to this meeting.

2. The developments in recent months towards implementation of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) Roadmap and the ceasefire agreement have heightened expectations, and rightly so, in Libya. The elections of the Presidency Council, Prime Minister and formation of a new cabinet, and the endorsement of the Government of National Unity (GNU) at the reunified session of the House of Representatives earlier this month in Sirte have the potential to turn a new page in the decade long conflict in Libya. We welcome these positive and encouraging developments.

3. It is encouraging to note that the Ceasefire Agreement has held by and large, even though the calls of this Council on withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries have not been heeded to. The newly formed Government of National Unity has enormous challenges ahead, including the convening of elections by the end of the year. Overall, the current situation provides reasons to be cautiously optimistic for Libya in the days ahead.

4. Ten years since the crisis in Libya started unfolding, we are now presented with a unique opportunity for the return of peace and stability to Libya in line with the aspirations and wishes of the Libyan people. The Council, therefore, has an important task to further advance the political process.

5. In this context, let me underline the following observations:

(i) One, we would like to reiterate that a peaceful settlement through inclusive and broad-based dialogue and consultations, taking into account the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all stakeholders in Libya, is the only way forward. The current pace of implementation of the LPDF road map must continue unhindered. It is pertinent to mention here that timely adoption of electoral legislations by the constitutional bodies in Libya is vital for the electoral process.  We look forward to working with other Council members and with Libya in ensuring that the elections are conducted smoothly, in a fair and transparent manner, by December 2021. The international community must be prepared to provide any assistance which Libya might need in the process.

(ii) Two, the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya needs to be safeguarded. The peace process, therefore, must be fully Libyan-led and Libyan-owned with no imposition or external interference.

 (iii) Three, the importance of the October 23 Ceasefire Agreement cannot be overstated. The international community and the Security Council should ensure its full implementation. India supports the role of the United Nations in implementing the Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism (LCMM) as requested by the Libyan parties. We have seen the report of the Secretary General on proposals for amending UNSMIL’s mandate with regard to the Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism. We are currently studying the report and will work with other Council members on the way forward.

(iv) Four, it is a matter of serious concern that despite the clear provisions in the Ceasefire Agreement, and repeated calls from this Council, foreign fighters and mercenaries continue to be present in Libyan territory. It is imperative that these fighters depart from Libya so that the peace process can move forward without external interference. We should not allow ‘spoilers’ – foreign countries that interfere as well as mercenaries and foreign fighters – to hinder the progress towards peace and stability in the country.

(v) Five, the report of the Panel of Experts makes it clear that the sanctions provisions are being violated blatantly, especially those related to the arms embargo. These violations pose serious threat to peace and stability in Libya. We have also expressed our strong concerns regarding news articles and speculations in the media reflecting some of the contents of the final report of the Panel of Experts on Libya. Such unauthorized disclosures undermine the credibility of the sanctions regime. This Council also needs to look at options to address the issue of management of frozen funds.

(vi) Six, we must ensure that terrorist forces and organisations are not allowed to rise again in Libya since this may lead to a cascading effect throughout the region. The international community must speak in one voice against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Madam President,

6. India has enjoyed close and mutually beneficial relations with Libya driven by a significant contribution of India’s public and private sector companies to the Libyan economy, and the strong presence of Indian diaspora who have contributed to the Libyan society.  The steel plant, power stations, transmission lines and oil pipelines built by Indian companies are positively contributing to the Libyan economy to this day. The presence of Indian professionals in critical sectors like oil, steel manufacturing, education and health has helped the Libyan society and economy tide over the difficulties of international isolation in the past. We, therefore, wish to see peace and stability return to Libya. India remains committed to supporting Libya and the Libyan people in their endeavour to bring about lasting peace in the country. To this end, we look forward to working with the Government of National Unity for providing capacity building and training assistance to the Libyan government officials and people in mutually identified areas.

I thank you, Madam President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN

UNSC Briefing on Middle East (Palestine), Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 25 March 2021.

Thank you, Madam President, I also thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing on the implementation of resolution 2334.

2. I would like to begin by reaffirming India’s firm and unwavering commitment to the resolution of the Palestine issue. India strongly supports a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel. India has also supported Palestinian national development and the strengthening of its institutions, especially in vital sectors like education, health, women empowerment etc., through our development partnership and technical cooperation agreement with Palestine. We are also initiating grass-root level development projects to strengthen the capacities of local communities.

3. India has consistently called for direct peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, based on a global consensus on the end-goal of a two-state solution. Resolution 2334 adopted by the Security Council calls for advancing this two-state solution through negotiations as well as to reverse negative trends on the ground, which includes settlements. We urge parties to refrain from all unilateral measures that vitiate conditions necessary for promoting peace and instead focus on bridging the trust deficit. Resolution 2334 also calls for preventing all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, and for both parties to refrain from provocative acts of incitement and inflammatory rhetoric. These will create conditions for launching “credible negotiations on all final status issues”.

4. The resumption of civil and military coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is a welcome step. This along with regular and timely transfer of PA’s entitled tax revenues will alleviate the humanitarian situation in West Bank and Gaza. We encourage both sides to continue this coordination and strengthen it further. We need more such measures to help both the parties to bridge the trust deficit and pave way for re-launching of credible negotiations.

5. We welcome the efforts of member states and various UN agencies in supporting the Palestinian Authority’s preparedness to receive and administer vaccines, including through the COVAX facility. We also take note of the efforts by Government of Israel to facilitate the transfer of vaccines to Palestinian territories.

6. The reports of agreement between Palestinian parties on the technicalities for the upcoming legislative elections, including a code of conduct intended to preserve the transparency and integrity of the election process, are welcome. We encourage all parties to continue the dialogue and resolve other pending issues to ensure the smooth conduct and conclusion of the Parliamentary, Presidential and National Council elections.

7. We renew our support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Despite severe constraints, UNRWA has continued to provide critical humanitarian, education and health services to more than 5 million registered Palestinians and has also assisted host governments in their COVID-19 response programs. We stress the need to provide sustained and predictable financial support for the Agency’s program budget and hope that 2021 would be a better year for the Agency. India has voluntarily contributed $15 million to UNRWA over the past three years and has committed another $10 million for 2021-2022.

Madam President,

8. The upcoming months will witness government formation in Israel and elections in Palestine. The international community must use this phase to focus on how to encourage the parties back to meaningful negotiations with the goal of achieving a peaceful solution to the dispute.

9. We appreciate the efforts by the Quartet and other countries towards resuming these direct negotiations. India will support all international efforts, including the peace conference called by President Abbas, that attempt to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stands ready to contribute constructively to such efforts.

I thank you Madam President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

UNSC briefing/consultations on Syria [Humanitarian], Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti,  Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 29 March 2021.

Thank you, Mr President.

Let me begin by welcoming Secretary of State of the United States, HE Mr. Anthony Blinken for convening this timely meeting on Syria today. I would also like to thank USG Mark Lowcock for his briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria. I also thank UNICEF ED Henrietta Fore and Dr. Amani Ballour, Al Amal Fund for their respective briefings.

2. Today’s meeting is yet another reminder to the Council of the grim humanitarian situation in Syria. The decade-long conflict has had a devastating effect on the people of Syria. We are deeply concerned with the alarming statistics. An estimated half-million people have died, millions have been displaced, both internally and externally, the health infrastructure has collapsed, and children have been deprived of basic education. Women, children and youth have especially been deeply impacted. The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated the humanitarian situation.

3. Syria’s economy has suffered multiple shocks over the past decade. The substantial depreciation of the Syrian Pound, which lost more than three-quarters of its value over the past year alone, has led to spiralling inflation and dwindling purchasing power of the average Syrian household.

4. The last decade has largely been lost for the Syrians, particularly for the children and youth, who have not been seeing anything but violence and conflict since 2011. This suffering should certainly move the Council members. The Council needs to introspect, about the cost of its actions and inactions. There is an urgent need to build consensus on the humanitarian situation and collectively work to ameliorate the sufferings of people in Syria. We cannot afford to be unmoved.

5. Keeping in mind the scale, severity and complexity of humanitarian needs, those who advocate linking humanitarian assistance to the political track should revisit the matter immediately. The politicization of the humanitarian track does not help anyone, least of all the millions of suffering Syrians. What we need immediately is an engagement that is both consistent with Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as addresses the urgency of the humanitarian issues to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

6. At the same time, concrete steps need to be taken to address hurdles that are obstructing the functioning of both cross-border and cross-line operations, in particular, the delays in granting requisite approvals to humanitarian aid convoys.

7. The recent flare-up of hostilities in north-west Syria on 21 March reminds us again of the serious impediments to our efforts. India strongly condemns the attack on surgical hospital in Al Atareb that resulted in the killing of innocent civilians. India has consistently underlined the need to protect health and humanitarian workers. We have equally underlined that we cannot allow terrorists to take any further advantage of the situation and the Council should speak in one voice on terrorism. Let us not lose sight to the need to resolutely combat terrorists and terrorist groups.

8. We welcome the hosting of the Fifth Brussels Donors Conference today and tomorrow (29-30 March) and remain convinced that efforts towards improving the humanitarian situation in Syria, will positively impact the political track as well. We need to engage on Syrian reconstruction as well.

9. For our part, as we have mentioned earlier, India has already extended immediate medical assistance and food assistance to Syria recently, in addition to the development cooperation projects, including US$ 265 million in soft loans, and substantial human resources development initiatives under our technical cooperation program. Our artificial limb fitment camp of the well-known “Jaipur Foot” of the Jaipur-based BMVSS in India, which was conducted in Damascus, benefited over 500 Syrians affected by the conflict. We had undertaken this Jaipur Foot initiative under the rubric of “India For Humanity”. We certainly need humanity now more than ever on the humanitarian crisis facing Syria.

I thank you Mr. President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

As part of the policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spellings and date format to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND P R Kumaraswamy