Appointment of Indian doctor as Deputy Director-General, Dr Soumya Swaminathan.
Two news about the World Health Organisation (WHO) hogged the headlines in India over the past few months. First the appointment of Indian doctor as Deputy Director-General of WHO. Dr Soumya Swaminathan. Indeed it is a matter of pride for us. People of my age group and ethnic group indeed have been flaunting their familiarity with this illustrious doctor. In my school, the alumni group of my illustrious friend has stated her relationship with her. Another retired Army Doctor of my alumni group has claimed that she was his classmate in the Armed Forces Medical College. I congratulated both of them and asked them to convey the same to the incumbent Indian doctor. I too am proud.
Tedros the Official Spokesman of WHO or China
At the same time, I am more nationalist. Individual achievements, be that as it may, the national interests hold much more priority for me. This I am commenting in connection with comments of Tedros the World Health Organisation’s Director-General. The repeated observations he has been making in support of the Chinese, defending them against any allegations of having spread the Coronavirus in spite of overwhelming corroborative shreds of evidence in support the same and also little to counter the same. There is a popular saying in Hindi “ Gawai Chust and Mudai Sust” meaning the litigant is inert while the witnesses are hyperactive. Such is the case of Tedros. No wonder the United States of America the largest contributor to the UN and its specialized agency budget through her President immediately announced its withdrawal from the membership of WHO.
India successfully trumped the Pakistani proposal in the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the Human Rights violations in Kashmir with the overwhelming majority of members voting in favour of India.
India’s contribution to UN Budget and its entitlement
But I am on the larger question. Is the United Nations serving its objectives of being objective? In the said context, has it ever benefitted the Indian cause or given even an unintended benefit to India as a member state. May I share with readers that my first assignment as a greenhorn in the Central Secretariat Service upon entry in the Ministry of Industry which has been rechristened as Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Department of Industrial Development now rechristened as Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion was in the UNIDO Division. Hence I cut my teeth watching the working of the UN System and its specialized agency. Incidentally, in 1985 only the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation became a specialised agency disengaging from its umbilical cord of the United Nations Development Programme. During those days India’s contribution to the budget of United Nations and each of its specialised agencies based on UN Scale of Assessment was about 0.36 to 0.38% of the total budget of each of the agencies. In so far as UNIDO is concerned first time it got recalibrated on account of Australia’s withdrawal and later on account of merger of Germany.
Now the number of personnel from each of the member nations is in the proportion of their contribution to the budget. During my days most part of which was pre perestroika and glasnost days, the USA was the largest contributor and number two was erstwhile USSR. As a corollary, they were the highest in proportion. At the same time due to programme based preferences and methodologies, there were nationals of other countries always in higher proportion than their budgetary contribution and concomitant entitlement at the cost of India. In most of the meetings of the General Assembly, the Board meeting or the Programme & Budget Committee meetings this was mentioned, in most specialised agencies engagement of professional from India continued to be below its entitlement. Also in those days, there was an Inter-Agency Procurement Services Unit (IAPSU) for procurement of supplies to UN projects all over the world. On account of repeated efforts from Indian Industry Ministry the procurement ratio also increased marginally and an Indian expert was posted there. Later I learnt that IAPSU had been merged with Office of Project Services in the United Nation Headquarters. But till date, the procurement of Indian, goods, supplies, contracting and consultancy services engagement in UN System is below par. Not many in the government sector are able to take up and increase this proportion. Now leaving the budgetary contribution and export & engagement of Indian goods professional services apart, even the Young Professional Programme of the United Nations an annual recruitment exercise does not cover Indian every year. Hence our interest in terms of spinoffs from this organisation is less minimal.
1994 success but the proposal should not have come
Now I come to substantive policy spinoffs by being a member of UNO or its specialised agency. Many people recall the date Mar 7, 1994, as a day of success and win for India. India successfully trumped the Pakistani proposal in the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the Human Rights violations in Kashmir with the overwhelming majority of members voting in favour of India. Those days I was on a scholarship in Manchester and in Manchester we all Indian students got together at the Phoenix bar in the precinct centre and celebrated. But as an officer having dealt with the subject at heart I knew that this proposal should not have been admitted at all. All this happened because while Indians have been denied their entitled professional positions as per scale of assessments the said commensurate position been occupied in the Secretariat by anti-India personnel who had deliberately enabled admitting this proposal of Pakistan. I have explained in detail to give readers a feel of things.
2018 Report and UNHRC’s recent mischief
Now the recent misadventure of the United Nations Human Rights Commission Reports two years ago on Kashmir. I had pointed so many shortcomings in my blog in the Surakshamani in June 2018. In fact, the facts were incorrect, the legal framework was not examined by the author, Reliance was made on unreliable sources to come to conclusions to bring out it was not an objective exercise. At that time also I had repeatedly emphasised on precipitating the Indian position to emphasis that either the Chief of UNHRC is impeached and the author removed from his position with the sanction disentitling him from future employment in any UN Specialised agency. The anti-India brand of UNHRC for a fillip this year when they arraigned themselves to become an intervening party in Supreme Court on a domain area falling wholly under Indian sovereign rights. People may recall my Video Hangout on PGurus calling out the Indian Government that this specialised agency has exceeded its limits and India should withdraw for this agency.
A recent grant of IMF packages to Pakistan is being reported. Let me share one fact. In the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, India had given humanitarian assistance of $5 million to Pakistan.
Financial Action Task Force
Now let us go to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Till last year we had China in the Chair of FATF. FATF his anti-terror funding and anti-money laundering regulatory body of the United Nations were constrained not to slide Pakistan’s ranking from grey to black. But now Pakistan has become brazen to drop the charges against the perpetrators of Nov 26, 2008, as per recent reports. FATF secretariat should Suo Motu initiate a proposal for downgrading Pakistan to blacklist status to be confirmed by the next plenary. But nothing appears to have been done. They may await an Indian proposal for this. The imputation of this is that the Indian delegation has to compromise with some countries for reciprocity to garner support. This definitely weakens Indian position in certain stages.
Recent reported IMF package
Now recent grant of IMF packages to Pakistan is being reported. Let me share one fact. In the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, India had given humanitarian assistance of $5 million to Pakistan. This money was later reportedly used for aggravating disaffection against India in Kashmir, financing some terror attacks like Mumbai serial train bomb attacks of July 2006 and other anti-India activities. Every humanitarian aid to Pakistan is primarily used for their terrorist misadventure in India. There is no reason to believe the present IMF Package will not be used for this. Before the sanction of the package, the IMF should have enforced the dismantling of terrorist training infrastructure and funding institutions in Pakistan as a first-line safeguard.
Do we need to continue
Hence on a balance of consideration, we need to take a call on India’s continuation as a member of the United Nations Organisation. But we have only one issue what is the Kul Bushan Jadhav whose case stuck in Pakistan and we do need to settle it to finality in favour of India whether through ICJ or by smoking the Kor Lakhpat Jail and do it bilaterally.
Now the issue of who can make a decision in this regard. We have constitutional constraint there. As long as India is concerned, the constraints come from the Constitution of India. Entry 12 under List 1 Schedule VII of the Constitution expressly states UNO. Does it entitle the Government of India to take a decision of its continuation also as a member of the UNO? Or it presupposes that matters relating the United Nations shall be the domain of Union of India while its continuation is provided under Constitution of India. If this is the interpretation then we need a Constitutional Amendment. A Constitutional Law expert could opine on this.
However, the Call Out to the Government of India is made.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.