United Nations: India has been a “very responsible” player in international fora, and as it sits on the UN Security Council, it can galvanise action in various areas and also bring focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, a top UN official has said. Also Read - EU Provides €1.65 Million Humanitarian Aid to Support Flood Victims of Bangladesh, India, Nepal

India overwhelmingly won its election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member last month for a two-year term that will begin in January 2021. It garnered 184 votes out of the 192 ballots cast in the UN General Assembly. Also Read - COVID-19: India Records Over 60,000 Cases For Fourth Straight Day; Total Tally Crosses 2.2 Million, Deaths Near 45K

Previously, India had been elected as a non-permanent member of the powerful Security Council for the years 1950 1951, 1967 1968, 1972 1973, 1977 1978, 1984 1985, 1991 1992, and most recently in 2011 2012. Also Read - India's COVID-19 Recoveries Cross 15-Lakh Mark; 10 States Contribute More Than 80% of New Cases, Says Health Ministry

“India is a very important country in the world in terms of technology, in terms of people, in terms of ideas and it also has been a very strong member of many other international organisations and can bring sensitivities of those organisations to bear in discussions (at the UN and as a Security Council member),” UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told PTI in an interview.

Responding to a question on expectations from India as it prepares to sit in the Security Council next year, he said India has given a great deal of support to other countries not only in its own region, but also elsewhere.

“So, we expect that it will bring some focus to Development Goals (SDG) issues as it will bring some focus to discussions around respect for other countries.

“I think its own relationship within the Commonwealth and other fora (like the) Non-Aligned Movement, the G77, you name it. It has been a very responsible player in those fora, so we expect that it will galvanise action in those areas of importance to those organisations as well, Muhammad-Bande said last week.

On a question about what role India can play, together with the UN, to promote access to affordable medicines and vaccines, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, India can be helpful because it has a very strong relationship with its neighbours.

It operates within the Commonwealth, it operates within its region. It also operates at the UN and they are a platform to give further support to the efforts of the global community, he said.

The UN official also said there was a resolution of the General Assembly agreed to by all Member States to give support to the idea of availability of vaccines.

“Countries that are able to produce quickly the needed vaccines when developed of course have a responsibility and those who are able to provide some funding to guarantee that this happens.

“And then we’ll have a mechanism to allow those who really need access. Even before the crisis, many countries were struggling and the situation has become extremely more difficult for many countries,” he said.