India on Saturday took over the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for August. The country outlined maritime security, peacekeeping and counterterrorism as its priorities.

“It is a singular honour for us to be presiding over the Security Council the same month when we are celebrating our 75th Independence Day,” TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the UN, said in a video message.

India took over the position from France. Tirumurti added that during the presidency, India will organise high-level meetings focusing on its three priority areas.

“Maritime security has a high priority for us, and it is important for the Security Council to take a holistic approach to this issue,” he said.

The ambassador added that peacekeeping was another important matter for India, considering the country’s long and pioneering involvement with it. “We will be focusing on how to ensure the safety of peacekeepers and how to bring perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers to justice,” Tirumurti said.

Elaborating on India’s third priority, Tirumurti said, “As a country which has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, we will continue to keep the spotlight on counterterrorism.”

Tirumurti said that the UN Security Council also planned to hold meetings with the representatives of Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and other countries in West Asia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to preside over a meeting of the UN Security Council on August 9.

“Although this is a virtual meeting, it’s still a first meeting of the sort for us,” said Syed Akbaruddin, India’s former envoy to the UN, according to ANI. “So, it is historic. Last time an Indian PM was engaged in this effort was the then PM PV Narasimha Rao in 1992 when he attended a UNSC meeting.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India was looking forward to work with other UN members during its presidency. “India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law,” he added.