As India took over the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 1 August, a viral infographic claimed that this is a first for the country.
However, this is India's eight stint at the Security Council as a non-permanent member. Further, UNSC's presidency is held by each of the member country in turn for a month which is in an alphabetical order of the member states names.
The text in Hindi in the infographic reads: "आज से दुनिया की कमान भारत के हाथों में, भारत बना UNO (UNSC) का अध्यक्ष. तुर्की, पाक समेत कई देश बौखलाए, United Nations की अध्यक्षता भारत पहली बार करेगा (sic)"
(Translated: From today, the command of the world is in India's hands, India became the President of UNO (UNSC). Many countries including Turkey, Pakistan are furious, India will preside over the United Nations for the first time.)
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
In a press release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in 2010 it was mentioned that the United Nations General Assembly had elected India as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term starting from 1 January 2011.
"This will be India's seventh term on the Security Council as a non-permanent member. India has previously been a member of the Security Council in 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, and 1991-92," the MEA press release added.
The official website of the United Nations mentions that UNSC's presidency is held by each of the members in turn for a month, in an alphabetical order of the member states names.
For instance, India took over the presidency in August from France which will be passed on to Ireland in September. As per the order available on UN's website, India is slated to take over presidency again in December 2022.
However, it is true that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Indian prime minister who would be presiding over a meeting of the UNSC.
Former permanent representative of India to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin told ANI that this is India's eighth stint at the UNSC.
The MEA spokesperson tweeted to announce that PM Modi would be chairing an Open Debate on 'Maintenance of international peace and security: Maritime security.'
Presently, Ambassador TS Tirumurti is the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations.
WHO HAVE PRESIDED OVER SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS FROM INDIA IN THE PAST?
The current Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri was Permanent Representative of India to the UN in Geneva from 2002 to 2006 and in New York from 2009 to 2013.
"He presided over the United Nations Security Council in August 2011 and November 2012 and chaired its Counter-Terrorism Committee in 2011-2012," the UN website mentioned.
Further, Puri took to Twitter on 1 August to say that he was "privileged to preside over the horseshoe" in the past.
According to a PTI article published by The Hindu in 2011, Sir Benegal Narsing Rau who was the then Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, had presided over the Security Council meetings in 1951.
While the then Ambassador Rikhi Jaipal and Permanent Representative of India to the UN had presided over its meetings in 1977, it was Chinmaya R Gharekhanthe, the then Indian Ambassador to the UN who had presided over the meetings in 1991 and 1992.
Evidently, a viral infographic falsely claimed that India taking over the presidency of the UN Security Council in August is a first for the country.