Jaishankar arrives in New York, will chair signature Presidency events at UNSC, discuss Afghan situation


PTI, Aug 17, 2021, 9:27 AM IST

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who arrived here to chair two high-level signature events this week under India’s current Security Council Presidency, has said that he expects to discuss the situation in Afghanistan during his engagements at the United Nations.

Jaishankar arrived on Monday as the Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, the second time in just over the 10 days that the powerful UN body met under India’s Presidency for the month of August to discuss the rapidly deteriorating and unraveling situation in the war-torn country.
“Significant UN Security Council discussions today on developments in Afghanistan. Expressed the concerns of the international community. Expect to discuss these during my engagements at the UN,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Jaishankar also discussed the ”latest developments” in Afghanistan with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and “underlined the urgency of restoring airport operations in Kabul. Deeply appreciate the American efforts underway in this regard.” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Blinken spoke with Jaishankar “today about Afghanistan and the developing situation there.” In a series of tweets, Jaishankar said that he is monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously. “Understand the anxiety of those seeking to return to India. Airport operations are the main challenge. Discussions on with partners in that regard.” Jaishankar also said that New Delhi is in constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul. “Their welfare will get our priority attention.” As India assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation Council for the month of August, it had outlined maritime security, counter-terrorism, and peacekeeping as the focus areas. Jaishankar will chair an open debate on August 18 on technology and peacekeeping under the overarching theme of ‘Protecting the Protectors’.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said in a tweet that Jaishankar will participate in a ceremony at the UN Peacekeeping memorial in the UN headquarters along with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Jaishankar will also chair a high-level event on August 19 on counter-terrorism during which the Council will discuss the Secretary General’s six-monthly report on the threat posed by ISIL/Da’esh, under the agenda item ‘Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired the virtual high-level open debate on maritime security that was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Blinken.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said that the open debate on Peacekeeping will focus on the theme of ‘Protecting the Protectors’, including through the use of modern technological tools to enhance the safety and security of Peacekeepers and to aid Peacekeeping Missions to effectuate their mandates effectively and efficiently.

India, in collaboration with the UN, would be rolling out the UNITE AWARE Platform, which is a “situational awareness software programme that allows a Peacekeeping Operations Centre to visualize and analyze the ground situation in a conflict zone on a real-time basis.” The project aims to demonstrate the impact of modern surveillance technology on the detection of asymmetric threats and to improve camp security for UN peacekeepers, the overall security situation, and the quality of situational awareness.

India has partnered with the UN to roll out the UNITE Aware platform initially in four Peacekeeping Missions: MINUSMA (Mali), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNFICYP (Cyprus), and AMISOM (Somalia).

An MoU between the Government of India and the UN in support of the ‘Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping’ initiative is expected to be signed during the visit. The executing agencies for this MoU would be the Center for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK – on the Indian side) and UN C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) based in Entebbe (Uganda) on the UN’s side.

During the visit, Jaishankar would also have bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of other Member States on the sidelines of these UNSC high-level events.

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