Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasises the need for a stronger global unity against terrorism. Discussing the recent attack on Israel by Hamas, he notes that the intended maximum response ended up being a miscalculation. Puri, a former diplomat and India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations expresses concern about the UN Security Council’s paralysis over the past decade due to disagreements among its five permanent members. In an interview with BharatShakti Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale for our sister digital platform, StratNews Global, Puri highlights the existence of what he sees as “three United Nations.
“The axis of the world has changed”, Puri cautioned, highlighting Hamas’s actions of October 7 are unjustifiable. He noted a departure from the convention of carrying out acts of terror in a “calibrated” and “restrained” manner. Puri argued that the world previously expected acts of terror to be executed with moderation. However, he criticized Hamas’s actions as being in a class of their own, intentionally designed to provoke a maximum response. Puri explained that this strategy aimed to rally half the world against Israel by eliciting a disproportionate response. He emphasized the flawed calculation, asserting that support for a particular group does not equate to acceptance of destroying the foundations of a free world in such a manner.
From his perspective, Hamas might not have anticipated the gravity of Israel’s response. According to him, the actions of Hamas signal the beginning of a larger upheaval in West Asia and beyond. He expresses concern that when disputes escalate to a point where each side claims to be correct, the risk of a more extensive conflict involving additional players intensifies. The substantial weaponry and funding involved raise the potential for the situation to spiral out of control. Despite the challenges, he remains optimistic that people will eventually recognise the downsides and work towards resolution.
Emphasising the United Nations’ inefficacy in addressing terrorism, Puri noted that the UN established various instruments only after the West experienced significant terror attacks. He highlighted the creation of the 1373 Committee in September 2001 as a response to recognising the severity of the issue when it hit close to home for the West. Puri pointed out that the committee’s chairmanship was initially exclusively held by the P5, underscoring its importance. Additionally, he mentioned other UN instruments like the 1267 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee aimed at exerting some control over groups like Hamas during and after conflicts.
Despite the existence of these instruments, serious doubts linger regarding the effectiveness of the United Nations, according to Puri. “There is a UN which is a combination of the 193-member states, then there is a UN out there which is a Secretariat funded by the member states but sometimes does things on its own and the third UN is made up of civil society NGOs, etc. These are powerful bodies, but collectively, the UN is in disarray.”
Further elaborating, Puri explained that the UN is tasked with two main functions: ensuring peace and security and fostering development. However, he points out a critical issue on the peace and security front—specifically, the paralysis of the Security Council. Since Puri’s tenure on the Council in 2011-12, it has remained paralyzed due to disagreements among the five UNSC members, particularly concerning the Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Puri deems this paralysis significant, emphasizing that the UNSC is the sole international agency empowered to use force to maintain peace and security through “all means necessary.” However, he notes a glaring trend where nations are increasingly bypassing the UN to resolve conflicts, signalling a lack of confidence in its efficacy. Puri concludes that this state of affairs will likely persist unless the post-1945 multilateral system is corrected.
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‘UNSC Has Been Paralysed For Over A Decade’