As India prepares to take up the presidency of the UN Security Council, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other international diplomats here to explain New Delhi’s priorities while leading the UN’s top decision-making body.
Shringla briefed Guterres during their meeting on Thursday about India’s focus areas during its presidency next month, maritime security, peacekeeping and counter-terrorism, according to the India’s UN Mission.
They also exchanged views on the regional situations, including Afghanistan and Myanmar, on climate change and the International Solar Alliance that India is promoting, on Security Council reforms and on the Covid-19 situation around the world, the Mission said.
Guterres “expressed solidarity with the government and people of India in their efforts against the recent wave of Covid-19 pandemic” and appreciated the positive role India is playing in the UN Security Council as well as India’s robust contribution to UN peacekeeping, it said.
During a day packed with diplomatic interactions, he also participated in a Security Council session on Libya.
He said that while there was “cautious optimism” about the future of the country wracked by internal strife, there was still concern over the fragile security situation and stressed that terrorist groups and their affiliates should not be allowed to operate there.
The US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is a member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet, was among the diplomats Shringla met.
US Mission Spokesperson Olivia Dalton said that they discussed enhancing multilateral cooperation between their countries that are deepening their strategic partnership.
Thomas-Greenfield “also expressed the need for continued coordination between the two countries to combat the global pandemic”, Dalton added.
India will take over as the Council President next month from France and Shringla briefed French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian about New Delhi’s plan and invited him to attend the high-level meetings that India would chair, the Mission said.
Shringla also met several senior UN officials to “discuss the entire gamut of India’s engagement with the UN system and its agencies”.
The officials he met were Guterres’s Chef de Cabinet Maria Viotti, and Under-Secretaries-General Rosemary DiCarlo who is in charge of political and peacebuilding affairs; Achim Steiner who heads the UN Development Programme; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of UN Women, and Courtenay Rattray, who is the High Representative for least developed and small island developing countries.