India does not need to be told “what to do on democracy”, New Delhi’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, said on Thursday.
Kamboj made the statement at a press conference held after India assumed presidency of the 15-country United Nations Security Council for the month of December. The presidency rotates every month among member nations, in alphabetical order.
Kamboj said that the roots of democracy in India dated back to 2,500 years to the time of the Shakya clan and the Lichchhavi kingdom – both based in the sub-Himalayan region. She was responding to a reporter’s question on democracy and freedom of press in India.
“Coming down to very recent times, we have all the pillars of democracy – the legislature, executive, judiciary, and the fourth estate, the press, and a very vibrant social media,” Kamboj said. “The country is the world’s largest democracy and, as you know, every five years we conduct the world’s largest democratic exercise.”
The UN ambassador said that everyone in the country is free to say what they want and that is how India functions.
“It is rapidly reforming, transforming and changing,” she said. “And the trajectory has been very impressive, and I don’t have to say this, you don’t have to listen to me. Others are saying this.”
In her opening remarks, she laid out the agenda of the Security Council under India’s presidency, saying that it will focus of two themes – building a new orientation towards reformed multilateralism and on global counterterrorism approach.
Kamboj said that the UN today is “far from reflective of the true diversity of the UN’s wider membership”.
“We do know that everyone does not agree very easily on all issues,” she said. “So if there is some pushback by some countries, that is normal in the United Nations system, that is normal in any negotiation process, but I’m happy to tell you that the broad majority of the membership does feel very strongly that enough is enough and reforms are needed.”
India, along with Brazil, Germany and Japan, have been vocing the need for urgent reform of the UN Security Council, according to PTI.
New Delhi has asserted that the council presently does not reflect the geo-political realities of the current time and its credibility is at risk if developing countries such as India are not given a permanent seat.