The role of the UN in the contemporary world

India has played a pivotal role in the United Nations right from its inception and has aggressively pushed forward the values of the UN Charter, Ambassador Asoke K. Mukerji has said.

He was delivering the first Institute Lecture for this academic season-Role of the UN in the contemporary world-on Wednesday.

Mr. Mukerji is currently an elected member of the governing Council and Executive Committee of the United Service Institution of India (USI), which is India’s oldest think tank, and a member of the National Executive Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

He served in the Indian Foreign Service for more 37 years, before retiring from New York as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in December 2015. His tenure was marked by the remarkably swift implementation, within 75 days and with the co-sponsorship of 177 countries, of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal for the UN to declare an International Day of Yoga. He headed the Indian negotiating team for the adoption of Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development by the UN General Assembly.

Noting that India had been at the forefront of responding through the UN to global challenges he said: “India has pushed forward the values of the Charter through various initiatives.”

Earlier he referred to the three pillars of the UN—Peace and security, Global Socio-Economic issues and Human Rights and touched all three of them separately through interesting slides. The photographs—including the historic photo from 1953 showing Vijayalakshmi Pandit taking over as the first woman President of UN General Assembly and that of Sir A Ramaswami presiding over the first session of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 1946—all mirrored the strong presence of India in the UN.

Stressing on the need to unify the three pillars of the UN, he said that the Security Council should also be reformed sooner or later.